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Leslie G. Wooten
Assistant Professor
wootenl@tcc.fl.edu
Biology Department
Tallahassee Community College
Am I a Girl, or a Boy?: An Unusual Case of Ambiguous Gender

A baby is born with ambiguous genitalia to parents from the Dominican Republic and is determined to be a female based on general appearance.  At the child's 12-year-old checkup, the parents and the child are distraught as they report to the pediatrician that the "girl" has grown a penis. How could this happen, and what effect will this have on the child? This condition is due to a defective gene that alters the levels of dihydrotestosterone in the developing embryo. At puberty, hormone levels change and the chromosomal male adopts a male appearance. The case can also be used to explore research and treatment possibilities for prostate cancer. This case was developed for an undergraduate molecular biology class comprised of mostly juniors and given during a unit concerning cell signaling and hormones. It can easily be adapted to an introductory biology, anatomy, physiology, or embryology course. 


It’s All Greek to Me: Genetics Edition 

Stephania and Nikolaus Stamos are concerned about their baby daughter. They take her to her pediatrician, who immediately notices that the once bright and active child is small for her age, pale, lethargic, and has a swollen abdomen. Students examine the patient's symptoms and test results, and then construct a pedigree chart and Punnett square to identify and understand the genetic disorder she is suffering from. Originally developed for a molecular biology course taken mostly by junior and senior undergraduate students, the case can be adapted for use in a course in cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, or genetics (see also the related "Physiology Edition").


It's All Greek to Me: Physiology Edition 

Stephania and Nikolaus Stamos are concerned about their baby daughter. They take her to her pediatrician, who immediately notices that the once bright and active child is small for her age, pale, lethargic, and has a swollen abdomen. Students examine symptoms and test results to identify the genetic disorder that the little girl is suffering from. The case would be appropriate for use in a physiology course, and could be adapted for use in a course in cell biology, biochemistry, or genetics (see the related "Genetics Edition").