XY sex-determination system

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The XY sex-determination system is the sex-determination system found in humans, most other mammals, some insects (Drosophila) and some plants (Ginkgo). In the XY sex-determination system, females have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and are called the homogametic sex. Males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY), and are called the heterogametic sex.

The XY sex determination system was first described independently by Nettie Stevens and Edmund Beecher Wilson in 1905.


Some species (including most mammals) have a gene or genes on the Y chromosome that determine maleness. In the case of humans, a single gene (SRY) on the Y chromosome acts as a signal to set the developmental pathway towards maleness. Other mammals use several genes on the Y chromosome for that same purpose. Not all male-specific genes are located on the Y chromosome.

Other species (including most Drosophila species) use the presence of two X chromosomes to determine femaleness. One X chromosome gives putative maleness. The presence of Y chromosome genes are required for normal male development.

Humans, as well as some other organisms, can have a chromosomal arrangement that is contrary to their phenotypic sex, that is, XX males or XY females. See, for example, XX male syndrome and Androgen insensitivity syndrome.

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he:כרומוזומי מין hu:Humán nemi meghatározottság