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Sex Differences in the BrainFrom Genes to Behavior$
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Jill B. Becker, Karen J. Berkley, Nori Geary, Elizabeth Hampson, James P. Herman, and Elizabeth Young

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311587.001.0001

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Why Are There Two Sexes?

Why Are There Two Sexes?

Chapter:
(p.2) (p.3) Chapter 1 Why Are There Two Sexes?
Source:
Sex Differences in the Brain
Author(s):

Turk Rhen

David Crews

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311587.003.0001

This chapter provides a three-part introduction to sex differences, stressing both the conserved and the unique as part of Darwin's notion of descent with modification. The first section takes a step back in time and provides a broad perspective on the evolution of eukaryotes. The evolution of meiosis and syngamy (i.e., the fusion of two cells) was a precondition for the evolution of dimorphic gametes and the subsequent evolution of all other sex differences. It then outlines general causes of sex differences in animals by focusing on natural and sexual selection. The second section discusses the mechanisms that underlie sex differences in gene expression as well as the basic developmental mechanisms that produce sex differences. The third section reviews some elegant research that links evolutionary causes of and proximate mechanisms for sex differences in the brain and behavior. These examples show how sex-specific selection on behavior ultimately drives neural evolution. The chapter concludes by briefly outlining what is known about sexual differentiation of neural mechanisms in humans.

Keywords:   sex differences, eukaryotes, evolution, natural selection, sexual selection, gene expression, neural mechanisms

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