Occurrence of Sex Chromatin in the Basal Cells of the Epidermis and in Basal Cell Carcinomata

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THE characteristic mass of sex chromatin, first observed by Barr and Bertram1 in the nerve cells of the female cat, can be identified in the cells of several different tissues in the human female2. The method of ‘nuclear sexing’ is now a well-recognized technique of exceptional importance in the investigation of disorders of human sexual development. The technique has been applied to the study of human tumours and, provided that good histological preparations have been available, it has been found, in most cases, that sex chromatin was recognizable in the cells of tumours of female patients but not in those of males, that is, the tumour is of the same sex as the host3–5. The principal exception is in the case of teratomata, which are always of female nuclear sex if the host is female, but may be male or female if the host is male3–6. Two alternative hypotheses have been postulated in explanation of this anomaly: one presumes that the tumour arises by parthenogenesis of haploid germ cells followed by endomitosis to restore the diploid chromosome number; the other supposes that the tumour arises by conjugation of two haploid germ cells.

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ASHLEY, D. Occurrence of Sex Chromatin in the Basal Cells of the Epidermis and in Basal Cell Carcinomata. Nature 181, 427 (1958) doi:10.1038/181427a0

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