It has long been assumed that the mammalian Y chromosome either encodes, or controls the production of, a diffusible testis-determining molecule, exposure of the embryonic gonad to this molecule being all that is required to divert it along the testicular pathway. My recent finding that Sertoli cells in XX ~<latex>$\leftrightarrow$</latex> XY chimeric mouse testes are exclusively XY has led me to propose a new model in which the Y acts cell-autonomously to bring about Sertoli-cell differentiation. I have suggested that all other aspects of foetal testicular development are triggered by the Sertoli cells without further Y-chromosome involvement. This model thus equates mammalian sex determination with Sertoli-cell determination. Examples of natural and experimentally induced sex reversal are discussed in the context of this model.