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Sexually Confused Dog

A female bulldog with testicles but no SRY gene considered scientific anomaly.

By | September 23, 2011

Radiography showing the penile bone the clitoris of a French Bulldog.FACULTY OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL

Though hermaphroditic mammals are not unheard of, most examples of females with testicles are traced to the presence of the SRY gene, normally carried on the Y chromosome and the trigger for the development of male sex traits. But Bijou the French bulldog has no Y chromosome, and no SRY gene, according to researchers at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, marking only the second French bulldog in the world diagnosed with such a condition.

She has a normal vagina and normal uterus, but a disproportionately large clitoris with a baculum (or penile bone), testicles instead of ovaries, and tissue that resembles an un developed prostate.

“She is a female with two X chromosomes and testicles despite the absence of the SRY gene,” David Silversides, the researcher who diagnosed Bijou at the veterinary genetics laboratory in Saint-Hyacinthe, said in a press release.

Similar anomalies have been seen in other animals, including pigs, horses, goats and even some dogs, but the condition is very rare, and only in goats have researchers pinpointed a genetic cause of the abnormalities. Silversides suggests a recessive gene, inherited from both parents, is likely responsible for Bijou's condition, adding that the dog could provide new insights into similar disorders in humans.

For more on the sexual development of gonads, see The Scientist's 2009 feature, "Choosing Sex."

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Comments

Avatar of: Blake Smith

Blake Smith

Posts: 1457

September 26, 2011

Is the dog confused or the people studying her?  Should the headline be Sexually Confusing Dog?

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

September 26, 2011

Rather than being confused, perhaps we should be curious as to whether any vestige of what went awry, or counter-intuitive, or whatever, or whether whatever might have caused the anomaly was of a temporary or parenthetical nature, such as an epigenetic stimulus of some kind chemical, electrical, electrochemical or signal transduction disruption.  If some vestigial clue remains, perhaps it might be in the form of a subtle mutation, or an excessive number of copies of a gene related to starting or stopping some particular cell activity at the "proper" time.

It does seem possible that some exponentially unlikely disruption could occur as a result of a random collision of a radio-active particle with a signal transduction could occur at the precise instant of signal response.  Such an event would be so rare as to be, if traceable at all, far to much a widow or orphan as to deserve little more than passing interest and, since it would be so enormously hard to reproduce experimentally, little scientific "value" might be lost in getting on with one's more
gainful, or intellectually satisfactory, goal seeking.

If a genetic basis were to be found, or if somehow the occurrence could be reproduced experimentally by, say, an electrical or chemical interference with the usual course of embryogenesis in this breed of dog, without entailing too much time or cost, perhaps this could inform some study of similar disruption of the norm in humans.  But even there it seems there are issues of far more frequent rate of occurrence demanding attention.

Nonetheless, now that our curiosity has been tweaked, the editors might do well to let us know if there is any finding as to the etiology of the anomaly that might solve the mystery.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 26, 2011

Is the dog confused or the people studying her?  Should the headline be Sexually Confusing Dog?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 26, 2011

Rather than being confused, perhaps we should be curious as to whether any vestige of what went awry, or counter-intuitive, or whatever, or whether whatever might have caused the anomaly was of a temporary or parenthetical nature, such as an epigenetic stimulus of some kind chemical, electrical, electrochemical or signal transduction disruption.  If some vestigial clue remains, perhaps it might be in the form of a subtle mutation, or an excessive number of copies of a gene related to starting or stopping some particular cell activity at the "proper" time.

It does seem possible that some exponentially unlikely disruption could occur as a result of a random collision of a radio-active particle with a signal transduction could occur at the precise instant of signal response.  Such an event would be so rare as to be, if traceable at all, far to much a widow or orphan as to deserve little more than passing interest and, since it would be so enormously hard to reproduce experimentally, little scientific "value" might be lost in getting on with one's more
gainful, or intellectually satisfactory, goal seeking.

If a genetic basis were to be found, or if somehow the occurrence could be reproduced experimentally by, say, an electrical or chemical interference with the usual course of embryogenesis in this breed of dog, without entailing too much time or cost, perhaps this could inform some study of similar disruption of the norm in humans.  But even there it seems there are issues of far more frequent rate of occurrence demanding attention.

Nonetheless, now that our curiosity has been tweaked, the editors might do well to let us know if there is any finding as to the etiology of the anomaly that might solve the mystery.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 26, 2011

Is the dog confused or the people studying her?  Should the headline be Sexually Confusing Dog?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 26, 2011

Rather than being confused, perhaps we should be curious as to whether any vestige of what went awry, or counter-intuitive, or whatever, or whether whatever might have caused the anomaly was of a temporary or parenthetical nature, such as an epigenetic stimulus of some kind chemical, electrical, electrochemical or signal transduction disruption.  If some vestigial clue remains, perhaps it might be in the form of a subtle mutation, or an excessive number of copies of a gene related to starting or stopping some particular cell activity at the "proper" time.

It does seem possible that some exponentially unlikely disruption could occur as a result of a random collision of a radio-active particle with a signal transduction could occur at the precise instant of signal response.  Such an event would be so rare as to be, if traceable at all, far to much a widow or orphan as to deserve little more than passing interest and, since it would be so enormously hard to reproduce experimentally, little scientific "value" might be lost in getting on with one's more
gainful, or intellectually satisfactory, goal seeking.

If a genetic basis were to be found, or if somehow the occurrence could be reproduced experimentally by, say, an electrical or chemical interference with the usual course of embryogenesis in this breed of dog, without entailing too much time or cost, perhaps this could inform some study of similar disruption of the norm in humans.  But even there it seems there are issues of far more frequent rate of occurrence demanding attention.

Nonetheless, now that our curiosity has been tweaked, the editors might do well to let us know if there is any finding as to the etiology of the anomaly that might solve the mystery.

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