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Genetic disorder in Dominican Republic village causes girls to become boys

Because of a rare genetic disorder, children who live in a village in the southwestern Dominican Republic are born female and become male at puberty.

According to a report by The Telegraph, the village of Salinas sees girls turning into boys so often that it is no longer “abnormal.”

Johnny, a 24-year-old who was born in the village, did not grow a penis until he hit puberty. He was originally named Felecitia by his parents and brought up as a girl, the Telegraph says.

“I remember I used to wear a little red dress,” Johnny says. “I was born at home instead of in a hospital. They didn’t know what sex I was.”

The genetic disorder happens due to a missing enzyme which prevents the production of a specific form of the male sex hormone — dihydro-testosterone — in the womb. Some male babies are missing the enzyme that triggers hormones, so they appear to be born female with no testes and what appears to be a vagina.

Not until puberty, when another huge surge of testosterone is produced, that the male reproductive organs emerge, the Telegraph explains. What should have occurred in the womb happens about 12 years later.

A girl named Carla is currently experiencing the transformation at age nine. He has recently had his hair cut short after wearing braids for many years.

Around one in 90 children in the village have the genetic disorder. Some subtle differences still exist in adulthood, such as decreased amounts of facial hair and smaller prostate glands.

Researchers believe that the condition has continued through generations because of the isolation of the villagers, the Telegraph adds.


Sep 21, 2015

Category: DR News |

  1. Samson

    I hope that they receive counselling.

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Last updated January 20, 2018 at 4:05 PM
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