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Transsexual? How’s your androgen receptor gene? June 28, 2009

Posted by Geekgirl in Uncategorized.
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Is there a gene that contributes to being transsexual? Male to female transsexual individuals are more likely to have repeated sections of DNA in the gene that codes for an androgen receptor. Androgens are the class of hormones that include testosterone. A receptor is like a doorway into the cell. Receptors are very specific for a given molecule. This study suggests that gender identity may be partly mediated through the androgen receptor.

Abstract is included, however the full text of the article is not free.

Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Jan 1;65(1):93-6. Epub 2008 Oct 28.
Click here to read

Androgen receptor repeat length polymorphism associated with male-to-female transsexualism.

Hare LBernard PSánchez FJBaird PNVilain EKennedy THarley VR.

Human Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.

BACKGROUND: There is a likely genetic component to transsexualism, and genes involved in sex steroidogenesis are good candidates. We explored the specific hypothesis that male-to-female transsexualism is associated with gene variants responsible for undermasculinization and/or feminization.

Specifically, we assessed the role of disease-associated repeat length polymorphisms in the androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta), and aromatase (CYP19) genes.

METHODS: Subject-control analysis included 112 male-to-female transsexuals and 258 non-transsexual males. Associations and interactions were investigated between CAG repeat length in the AR gene, CA repeat length in the ERbeta gene, and TTTA repeat length in the CYP19 gene and male-to-female transsexualism.

RESULTS: A significant association was identified between transsexualism and the AR allele, with transsexuals having longer AR repeat lengths than non-transsexual male control subjects (p=.04). No associations for transsexualism were evident in repeat lengths for CYP19 or ERbeta genes. Individuals were then classified as short or long for each gene polymorphism on the basis of control median polymorphism lengths in order to further elucidate possible combined effects. No interaction associations between the three genes and transsexualism were identified.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that male gender identity might be partly mediated through the androgen receptor.

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