IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

High maternal androstenedione levels during pregnancy in a small precocial mammal with female genital masculinisation

  • Cornelia Kraus

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Kristina A. Pfannkuche
  • Fritz Trillmich
  • Ton G. G. Groothuis
Registered author(s):

    -Masculinisation of female genitalia is an intriguing phenomenon amongst some mammalian species and its endocrinological basis as well as its adaptive value is still heavily debated. We recently reported female genital masculinisation in Cavia magna. The closely related C. aperea, does not show such masculinisation providing an unique opportunity to investigate potential endocrinological mechanisms underlying this difference. For both species we determined plasma levels of androstenedione and testosterone in adults of both sexes, and in females during different stages of pregnancy. Consistent with the normal mammalian pattern males showed higher levels of both androgens than conspecific females. Androgen profiles during pregnancy differed significantly between C. magna and C. aperea females: during mid-pregnancy androstenedione levels were strongly elevated in the masculinised C. magna, but not in C. aperea, indicating that high levels of this androgen may be involved in the differentiation of masculinized genitalia in female C. magna, as has been suggested for the spotted hyena. In both C. magna and the spotted hyena the pups show a highly advanced state of maturation, but in contrast to the hyena female C. magna are not overly aggressive. We therefore propose that female genital masculinisation might be a side effect of early exposure to elevated levels of maternal androgens that might be selected for to speed up precocial development.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2008-017.

    in new window

    Length: 23 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2008-017
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2008-017. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.