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Gender identity leaves an imprint on human brains

Source: Georgia State University

Society's expectations about gender roles alter the human brain at the cellular level, according to a new article.

  • Though the terms 'sex' and 'gender' are often used interchangeably by the average person, for neuroscientists, they mean different things.

  • Sex is based on biological factors such as sex chromosomes and gonads [reproductive organs], whereas gender has a social component and involves expectations and behaviors based on an individual's perceived sex.

  • These behaviors and expectations around gender identity can be seen in "epigenetic marks" in the brain, which drive biological functions and features as diverse as memory, development and disease susceptibility.

Epigenetic marks help determine which genes are expressed and are sometimes passed on from cell to cell as they divide. They also can be passed down from one generation to the next


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