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Fellous was studying a newly discovered gene called SRY, which resides on the Y chromosome and is crucial in triggering the development of male features.
Vilain helped to identify the causes of several DSDs, such as XY people who look female because of mutations that disable the SRY gene.
There, he began tackling questions about sexual development from every possible angle.
He created mouse models with mutations in SRY or other sex-linked genes to study how their developing brains respond to hormones — research that could lead to better care for people with DSDs.
But what has brought Vilain the most grief of late has been his stance on sex-assignment surgery for infants with DSDs.
Although he generally opposes it, he won't categorically condemn it or the doctors who perform it.
As a medical student in Paris in the 1980s, Eric Vilain found himself pondering the differences between men and women.
We are committed to helping singles in Michigan find love every day by narrowing the field from thousands of single prospects to match you with a select group of compatible matches.“I just lost my patience,” says Alice Dreger, a bioethicist who used to work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and who was among the first to leave the study.Although dismayed by their departure, Vilain refuses to take a stance until it is supported by science.Vilain was an unusual student, Fellous says, because his clinical background allowed him to bridge lab work and patient care.Fellous says that it is often difficult to explain to the families of children with DSDs why the research would be helpful. “He was a very open mind, really close to families.” In 1995, Vilain left France for a faculty job at UCLA.