There’s a Village Where Boys Grow Penises at the Age of 12

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Johnny, a guevedoces, who started growing a penis at age 7 via Daily Telegraph
Johnny, a guevedoces, who started growing a penis at age 7 via Daily Telegraph

There’s a village where boys grow penises at the age of 12 and this is no joke. These anomalies take place in the village of Salinas, Dominican Republic, where an extremely rare genetic disorder affects around 1 in 90 children born here.

The boys that only grow penises at the age of 12 are called “guevedoces”, which translated into English means “penis at twelve”.

When they are born, guevedoces appear to be anatomically female, or appear to lack male genitalia. Between the ages of 7 and 12, due to hormonal changes, the guevedoces start growing a penis.

According to the Daily Telegraph, boys grow penises at the age of 12 and this is the explanation: “But some male babies are missing the enzyme 5-α-reductase which triggers the hormone surge, so they appear to be born female with no testes and what appears to be a vagina. It is not until puberty, when another huge surge of testosterone is produced, that the male reproductive organs emerge. What should have happened in the womb happens around 12 years later. Their voices deepen and they finally grow a penis.”

Dr. Julianne Imperato, an endocrinologist at Cornell University, is the first to have documented the phenomenon in the village where boys grow penises at the age of 12, back in the 1970’s: “When Dr Imperato investigated the Guavadoces she discovered the reason they don’t have male genitalia at birth is because they are deficient in an enzyme called 5-α-reductase, which normally converts testosterone into dihydro-testosterone. […]

The genetic disorder affects a lot of people living in the Dominican isolated village. “Around one in 90 children in Salinas are guevedoces and although they resemble sexually normal males, subtle differences do still exist in adulthood. Most have decreased amounts of facial hair and smaller prostate glands relative to the average male,” Dr. Julianne Imperato added.