Letter | Published:

Sexing of Skins in East Africans

Naturevolume 193pages802803 (1962) | Download Citation



THE determination of chromosomal sex by the microscopic examination of epidermal cells was first done by Moore, Graham and Barr1. Since then many other workers2–7 have confirmed the usefulness of this technique for sexing skins. All these workers, however, used only White skins the epidermal cells of which contain very little melanin pigment. In the epidermal cells of most East Africans, there are large amounts of melanin pigment which tends to obscure nuclear detail. Unless this pigment was removed prior to staining, it would make chromosomal sex determination either very difficult or impossible. It was this fact which convinced me that it would be worth while finding out whether the technique for sexing skins, as originally used by Moore et al.1, would be useful or practicable in East Africans and other dark-skinned races.

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  1. 1

    Moore, K. L., Graham, M. A., and Barr, M. L., Surg. Gynec. Obstet., 96, 641 (1953).

  2. 2

    Barr, M. L., and Hobbs, G. E., Lancet, i, 1109 (1954).

  3. 3

    Barr, M. L., Surg. Gynec. Obstet., 99, 184 (1954).

  4. 4

    Polani, Paul E., Hunter, W. F., and Lennox, Bernard, Lancet, ii, 120 (1954).

  5. 5

    Merberger, E., and Nelson, W. O., J. Clin. Endocrinol., 14, 768 (1954).

  6. 6

    Klinger, Harold P., and Ludwig, Kurt, S., Stain Tech., 32, 235 (1957).

  7. 7

    Emery, John L., and McMillan, Mary, J. Path. Bact., 68, 17 (1954).

  8. 8

    Lillie, R. D., Histopathological Technique and Practical Histochemistry, 1954 ed. (The Blakiston Company, Inc., New York).

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  1. Department of Anatomy, Makerere College Medical School, Kampala, Uganda, East Africa

    • W. K. CHAGULA


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