Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Sex Determination

1. process by which the sex of an individual is achieved; for example, the presence of a Y chromosome (specifically, the SRY gene) in an embryo causes the fetus to develop into a male. In mammals, an individual without a Y chromosome will become a female by default.

See genetic sex, chromosomal sex, phenotypic sex, and psychosocial sex.

2. the use of skeletal markers, dimensions, bone density, and similar variables to estimate biological sex in a skeletal population.

See skeletal sexing.

3. the use of genetic markers to estimate biological sex in a fluid, bone or tissue sample.

See molecular sex determination.

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