Women winning gene race against men

Advertisement

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The human Y-chromosome responsible for making men is rapidly shrinking, according to scientific research.

The chromosome, once as large as it’s counterpart the X-chromosome, has been tossing out genes at a furious ratea��leaving it just a fraction of its former self. The chromosome retains just 19 of its original genes and is one-twelfth the size of the X-chromosome.

Unlike the two X-chromosomes of the female, the lone Y-chromosome has no partner to swap genetic material with. This has forced the Y-chromosome to swap material with itself during replication, forcing it into a genetic bottleneck situation.

What has scientists concerned though is the rate at which the genes are disappearing. Dr. Jenny Graves, who first brought the topic to light, believes the Y-chromosome will disappear completely within the next 5 million years. In evolutionary terms, 5 million years is practically in the blink of an eye.

What does this mean for the future of men and their tiny Y-chromosome?

“It means women will have to find an alternative,” jokingly answered BHSU Instructor of Biology, Dr. David Post.

Research into the Y-chromosomes of other mammals paints a similar story.

New evidence, however, shows the rate of decay may finally be at a plateau, and that the chromosome may have retained some essential genes that would secure its existence. While the outlook is seemingly dim, there may be hope for men after all.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email