This world is full of secrets and hidden truths that when unveiled seem more like a work of fiction than reality. The story of the inhabitants of a village In Salinas, in Barahona Province of Dominican Republic is nothing less than a nature’s weird miracle.
One of every 90 children born in this village as girls naturally transforms into boys once they hit their puberty. The local term used to refer these kids are guevedoces, which literally means “penis at twelve” and in medical terms they are called “pseudohermaphrodite”.
The reason behind this is believed to be a rare genetic condition because of a certain missing enzyme (5-α-reductase) preventing production of dihydrotestosterone while the kid is in the mother’s womb. Due to this they look like girls when they are born without any male genitalia. Then, when puberty comes testosterone starts flowing with visible effects like voice cracking and also growth of male reproductive organ. Also due to testosterone, muscle and other physical changes starts appearing making it looks like a girl suddenly turned into a boy.
This condition was first discovered by Dr. Julianne Imperato, an endocrinologist at Cornell University in the 70s who went to this region after hearing rumours about this transformation. Since then, various studies have been conducted and the end conclusion is that this is a natural condition.
In fact, this discovery of Dr. Imperato has led to the development of a drug to block the enzyme (5-α-reductase) to treat male pattern baldness as well as benign enlargement of prostate.
Though it is a medical miracle of some sort but surely it is hard to believe that some condition of this sort to exist in this world.
Story Inputs And Cover Image Courtesy: BBC