Genital tubercle

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Genital tubercle
Stages in the development of the external sexual organs in the male and female.
Precursor somatopleure[1]
Gives rise to genital swelling, mons pubis, clitoris, penis
System Reproductive system
Latin tuberculum phallicum; tuberculum genitale
TE E5.
Anatomical terminology

A genital tubercle or phallic tubercle is a body of tissue present in the development of the reproductive system. It forms in the ventral, caudal region of mammalian embryos of both sexes, and eventually develops into a primordial phallus. In the human fetus, the genital tubercle develops around week 4 of gestation, and by week 9 becomes recognizably either a clitoris or penis. This should not be confused with the sinus tubercle which is a proliferation of endoderm induced by paramesonephric ducts. Even after the phallus is developed, the term genital tubercle remains, but only as the terminal end of it,[2] which develops into either the glans penis or the glans clitoridis.

The genital tubercle is sensitive to dihydrotestosterone and rich in 5-alpha-reductase, so that the amount of fetal testosterone present after the second month is a major determinant of phallus size at birth.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Netter, Frank H.; Cochard, Larry R. (2002). Netter's Atlas of human embryology. Teterboro, N.J: Icon Learning Systems. p. 159. ISBN 0-914168-99-1. 
  2. ^ The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Embryo images nr 024

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