Sex determination is arguably the most defining moment of our lives, the point where we inherit X or Y chromosome from our father. This initiates a cascade of events that sets in a train of morphological changes, genetic regulations and molecular mechanisms. Following this, our fate is further sealed during sex differentiation and gonadal development owing to the action of sex-specific gonadal hormones. Therefore, the profoundly divergent journeys of male and female lives are decided just by the toss of a genetic coin. The existence of a third gender is also an undeniable aspect of our society. The understanding of the functioning and genetic regulation of the complex process of sexual determination and differentiation is pivotal in comprehension of the basis of human life. Any deviation from the usual mechanisms in the critical stages of development leads to disorders of sexual differentiation leading to sexual ambiguity among individuals. This review discusses the mechanisms that contribute to female and male sex determination and gonadal development, in an attempt to understand the basics of human sex.
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