Development of Laboratory Investigations in Disorders of Sex Development

Laura Audí, Núria Camats, Mónica Fernández-Cancio, María L. Granada

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel. Scientific knowledge to understand the biological basis of sex development was prompted by the observation of variants different from the 2 most frequent body types, and this became one of the fields first studied by modern pediatric endocrinology. The clinical observation was supported by professionals working in different areas of laboratory sciences which led to the description of adrenal and gonadal steroidogenesis, the enzymes involved, and the different deficiencies. Steroid hormone measurements evolved from colorimetry to radioimmunoassay (RIA) and automated immunoassays, although gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry are now the gold standard techniques for steroid measurements. Peptide hormones and growth factors were purified, and their measurement evolved from RIA to automated immunoassays. Hormone action mechanisms were described, and their specific receptors were characterized and assayed in experimental materials and in patient tissues and cell cultures. The discovery of the genetic basis for variant sex developments began with the description of the sex chromosomes. Molecular technology allowed cloning of genes coding for the different proteins involved in sex determination and development. Experimental animal models aided in verifying the roles of proteins and also suggested new genes to be investigated. New candidate genes continue to be described based on experimental models and on next-generation sequencing of patient DNAs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-18
    JournalSexual Development
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


    • Disorders of sex development
    • Hormone measurement
    • Immunoassays
    • Molecular diagnosis


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