Brain feminization requires active repression of masculinization via DNA methylation
The March 30 issue of Nature Neuroscience includes an interesting article that may help explain different reproductive behaviors of male vs. females.
Researchers at the University of Maryland studied development of fetal rats and found that the developing mammalian brain is destined for a female phenotype unless exposed to gonadal hormones during a perinatal sensitive period. Therefore, sex hormones can determine whether the brain acquires feminine or masculine characteristics. Brains are by default feminine, but are masculinized by DNA methylation, which releases masculinizing genes from epigenetic repression. The researchers could induce male sexual behavior in female rats by pharmacologically inhibiting DNA methyltransferase enzymes.
Abstract Located: HERE