Interest in biological substrates of sex-related variations in psychological and physiological characteristics has led to a search for biomarkers of prenatal hormone exposure that can be measured postnatally. There has been particular interest in digit ratio, the relative lengths of the second and fourth fingers (2D:4D), but its validity as a measure of prenatal androgen has not been established. We report the strongest evaluation of the value of 2D:4D as a biomarker for early androgen exposure. Individuals with 46,XY karyotype but no effective prenatal androgen exposure due to complete androgen insensitivity syndrome had digit ratios that were feminized: they were higher than those of typical men and similar to those of typical women. Nevertheless, the effect was modest in size, and there was considerable within-group variability and between-group overlap, indicating that digit ratio is not a good marker of individual differences in prenatal androgen exposure.
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