‘Gender stereotypes leave imprint on brains’

  1. According to a new study, the society’s expectations about gender roles have a deep impact on human brains and can alter human brain at the cellular level.
  2. The researchers have highlighted that though the terms sex and gender are used interchangeably, they are different things. Sex is based on biological factors such as sex chromosomes and gonads (reproductive organs). While, gender us a social construct, and involves expectations and behaviours based on an individual’s perceived sex.
  3. According to scientists, these expectations and behaviours around the gender identity can be seen in epigenetic marks in the brain. Epigenetics is the term used to describe inheritance by mechanisms other than through the DNA sequence of genes. Epigenetic marks work through chemical tags added to chromosomes that in effect switch genes on or off.
  4. Epigenetic marks help determine which genes are expressed and are sometimes passed on from cell to cell as they divide. They also can be passed down from one generation to the next. They drive biological functions and features as diverse as memory, development and disease susceptibility.