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Later at puberty, estrogen feminizes a young woman, giving her adult sexual characteristics.
An imbalance of maternal hormonal levels and some chemicals (or drugs) may alter the secondary sexual characteristics of fetuses.
A fetus usually develops into a male if it is exposed to a significant amount of testosterone (typically because the fetus has a Y chromosome from the father).
Otherwise, the fetus usually develops into a female, typically when the fetus has an X chromosome from the father, but also when the father contributed neither an X nor Y chromosome.
The term woman, however, may also be used as the general term to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "women's rights".Because humans inherit mitochondrial DNA only from the mother's ovum, genetic studies of the female line tend to focus on mitochondrial DNA.Whether or not a child is considered female does not always determine whether or not the child later will identify themselves that way (see gender identity).The breast evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive characteristic of mammals, along with live birth.In mature women, the breast is generally more prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary for milk production, is probably at least partially the result of sexual selection.