While some believe that sex and gender are dichotomous, the complex series of events which lead to brain sex and and sexual organ development may support more of a spectrum of sex & gender assignment. On this podcast, we will discuss the anatomy, genotype and phenotype related to this development as well as key hormones impacting sex and gender designations.

Guest Panelists

Craig Smith is a member of the Development and Stem cells Theme at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University. Craig obtained his PhD from Macquarie University in 1995 (temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles ). He then worked with Professor Andrew Sinclair as a postdoctoral fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne. (Andrew Sinclair co-discovered the master human sex-determining gene, SRY).

At the MCRI, Craig pioneered the use of the chicken embryo as model for sex determination and embryonic gonadal development. During this time, he was awarded various NHMRC and ARC fellowships and grants, including an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011.He eventually became an associate professor and group leader at the MCRI. In 2015, Craig moved to Monash University, where he continues his research on sex determination and gonadal development. He currently heads the Comparative Development and Evo-Devo Laboratory in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash University. Craig has published over 80 research papers and book chapters, the highlight being the discovery of the bird sex-determining gene, DMRT1 (Smith et al., Nature, 1999 and 2009). Previously the Honours coordinator in the department, Craig currently convenes the third year undergraduate unit entitled “Fundamentals of Developmental Processes.”


Craig is a keen traveler and has a special interest in wildlife and wild places. He writes regular travel blogs of his adventures around the world.

Topics Covered

  • The role of hormones and chromosomes in sex and gender
  • Definition of sex vs. gender
  • Defining disorders of sexual development (DSD)
  • The complex series of events which lead these outcomes.
Episode 8: Genetics and The Spectrum of Sex Designations
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