Sexual Dimorphism and Sex Differences in Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Development and Behavior.
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As fundamental features of nearly all animal species, sexual dimorphisms and sex differences have particular relevance for the development and function of the nervous system. The unique advantages of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have allowed the neurobiology of sex to be studied at unprecedented scale, linking ultrastructure, molecular genetics, cell biology, development, neural circuit function, and behavior. Sex differences in the C. elegans nervous system encompass prominent anatomical dimorphisms as well as differences in physiology and connectivity. The influence of sex on behavior is just as diverse, with biological sex programming innate sex-specific behaviors and modifying many other aspects of neural circuit function. The study of these differences has provided important insights into mechanisms of neurogenesis, cell fate specification, and differentiation; synaptogenesis and connectivity; principles of circuit function, plasticity, and behavior; social communication; and many other areas of modern neurobiology.