Women are Winning

August 4, 2009

Over the past year I have heard news twice that men are genetically inferior to women. While this ensures in my mind that the feminist movement can finally declare to the world that they have in fact, well, won the battle, I don’t really know what to think of it. So just to think out loud, I’ll go through both things I’ve heard about this year, and give a little perspective.

1. Y-Chromosome Disappearing


What this article is theorizing is that because the Y chromosome has shown to have lost many of its genes over the course of evolution, the Y chromosome may end up obsolete. Recall that women have genetically two X chromosomes (more on this later) and men have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. So let’s break this down.

First of all, the idea of the Y chromosome degenerating is not a new idea whatsoever, which the article states. In fact, it has long been thought that the Y chromosome is an already degenerated X chromosome.

Second, the genes the Y chromosome does carry are important for male development. But this does not mean the Y chromosome is the sole necessary thing for man to happen. Male developmental genes are all over the chromosome, which is part of the reason these researchers are theorizing a possibility of Y chromosome disappearance, because the genes that are on the Y chromosome could also find homes elsewhere in the genome.

Finally, this ABC article actually does not make any sense. It is in no way saying the Y chromosome is disappearing. At most, it is saying it may undergo so many changes that it will just not be the same.

But let’s theorize. What if the Y chromosome were to disappear. Here’s what would need to happen.

1. Evolutionarily, a loss of a chromosome would be energetically beneficial. If the cell must work to divide the all the 46 (times 2) chromosomes, it would in theory be less energy to divide 45 (times 2) chromosomes (this is mitosis, or even cell division, or one cell becoming 2 cells by copying everything inside).
2. So the genes on the Y chromosome have to go somewhere. Through genetic machinery like transposons (a complicated bugger, think ferry rides taking genes from one place to another) and genetic conversion (more common, think two cities that look exactly the same and just getting lost and choosing the wrong one) all the genes (according to this article, all ~80) would have to transfer to another chromosome. Each gene transfer though would have to lead to an evolutionary benefit, because while the gene will still be expressed, the different location would have to result in an advantage. And example would be if a male development gene ended up next to another highly active gene and thus make it easier for that one to turn on (for example, having to buy a cucumber and a t-shirt of a cucumber might require going to Whole Foods and the Gap, but it would be easier if you just go to a Super Wallmart).
3. Once all the genes are gone from the Y, the Y would have to be lost due to unequal cell divisions in the testicles, thus leading to sperm with X, sperm with useless Y, sperm with X and useless Y, and super sperm with no X or Y. And then ultimately, these sperm would have to get the egg, which might be more likely because it would be more advantageous if it has more energy due to a lack of a useless chromosome. And then these super no Y men would have to impregnate a bunch of girls (knocked up back of a car style) and pass this lack of Y to all his sons.
4. And these super no Y men would have to some sort of a sexual selection. Maybe the lack of Y gives them a bigger penis. Maybe the easier cell division will lead to an earlier puberty and thus an earlier age to start fatherhood. Maybe it will lead to faster brain and muscle development and lead to a super smart and ripped abs guy. But the gene would have to be passed on to the next generation.

And while this could happen, each step would take thousands upon millions of generations. Changes of this genetic order must take a long time. And with global population and communication making us get to know everyone, the change will take even longer because we’re not even in inclusive societies anymore. And with the sexual revolution allowing everyone to hook-up, even the failures of the world (read: trekkies), the likelihood of this seems low.

Well this was a long post. I think I’ll just leave the next part of my post for next time.


One comment

  1. […] Life « 7 days X-inactivation August 11, 2009 Continuation of the unfinished post Women are Winning The other advantage the girls have over the boys is the fact that they have two X chromosomes, […]

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