Anatomy word of the month: Gubernaculum

August 2, 2012 —

gubernatorialA guide or leader, literally, helm or rudder in Latin. The testis or testicle of the adult male does not originate in the scrotum, but must be guided into its adult position from inside the abdominal cavity. The job of the gubernaculum, a cord of tissue extending from the embryonic testis through the inguinal canal to the scrotum, is to assure that the journey of the testis is successful. Although an unfamiliar term to most, you may know a related word referring to the election of a state governor. Can you think of the word?

In some male newborns one or both testes become stuck in the inguinal canal. Undescended testis(es) is called cryptorchidism (hidden testicle). Orchis is the Greek word for testis.

By the way, the selection of a governor is called a gubernatorial election.


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