Where girls turn into boys when they hit puberty

dominican-republic (Representational) One in 90 children in Salinas in the southwestern Dominican Republic face a rare genetic disorder because of which the male reproductive organs emerge only during puberty | Reuters

While bodily changes at the time of puberty such as voice cracking and mood swings are all too common among boys worldwide, the transformation that some undergo at a remote village in the Dominican Republic is extraordinary — these boys grow a penis only when they hit puberty.

The story of these children who live in Salinas, an isolated village in the southwestern Dominican Republic, features in a new BBC science series "Countdown to Life - the extraordinary making of you".

One in 90 children in Salinas face this rare genetic disorder, telegraph.co.uk reported.

In their village, these children are simply referred to as the 'guevedoces’ - which literally translates as ‘penis at 12’.

The disorder occurs because of a missing enzyme which prevents the production of a specific form of the male sex hormone — dihydro-testosterone — in the womb, the report said.

Because of this missing enzyme they appear to be born female with no testes and what appears to be a vagina.

The male reproductive organs emerge during puberty at around 12 years of age due to a huge surge in testosterone.

So what should have happened in the womb happens around 12 years later.

Their voices deepen and they finally grow a penis.

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