DOI: 10.1101/483636Nov 30, 2018Paper

Sex differences in gene expression in the human fetal brain

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Heath E O'BrienNicholas J Bray


Widespread structural, chemical and molecular differences have been reported between the male and female human brain. Although several neurodevelopmental disorders are more commonly diagnosed in males, little is known regarding sex differences in early human brain development. Here, we used RNA sequencing data from a large collection of human brain samples from the second trimester of gestation (N = 120) to assess sex biases in gene expression within the human fetal brain. In addition to 43 genes (102 Ensembl transcripts) transcribed from the Y-chromosome in males, we detected sex differences in the expression of 2558 autosomal genes (2723 Ensembl transcripts) and 155 genes on the X-chromosome (207 Ensembl transcripts) at a false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.1. Genes exhibiting sex-biased expression in human fetal brain are enriched for high-confidence risk genes for autism and other developmental disorders. Male-biased genes are enriched for expression in neural progenitor cells, whereas female-biased genes are enriched for expression in Cajal-Retzius cells and glia. All gene- and transcript-level data are provided as an online resource (available at <>) through which researchers can search, downlo...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Autistic Disorder
Developmental Disabilities
Gene Expression
Research Personnel
Stem Cells
X Chromosome

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