Gynandromorphy

Dowling Lab

A gynandromorph is an organism that possesses both male and female tissue.  Gynandromorphs can exhibit bilateral symmetry, with male characteristics on one side and female on the other, or can be a mosaic of male and female tissue.  Gynandromorphy has been observed in vertebrates and invertebrates, often resulting in striking displays of male and female characteristics on an individual animal.

Jungle nymph gynandronymph, male on left and female on right. Used with permission under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. Jungle nymph gynandronymph, male on left and female on right.
Used with permission under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Gynandromorph cardinal. © Larry P. Ammann Gynandromorph cardinal.
© Larry P. Ammann

It’s thought to result from improper division of the sex chromosomes during the first few embryonic cell divisions. For example, in an organism with XY sex chromosomes, when the cell undergoes mitosis, normally the chromosomes duplicate (XXYY) and then divide into two cells, each with an X and Y. With a gynandromorph, when the XXYY split occurs, the two resulting cells are X…

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