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Genes can be sex-linked, affecting only either males or females - some of these are obvious (such as genes relating to pregnancy) and some are less so (such as genes, in the original Creatures, that caused differing effects upon imbibing alcohol). Typically, this is done by changing a single byte in a gene header. Sometimes, genes can mutate to become sex-linked, which can have fatal and insidious effects on a population.
For the real-world phenomenon, see sex linkage at Wikipedia.