The Y Chromosome Is Shrinking

People can argue about whether or not manliness is on the decline, but one thing we can say for sure: the thing that makes men, men is shrinking.

The Y chromosome is shedding genetic material and getting smaller. Scientists are not sure why, or what will become of the Y chromosome. It is possible that it will disappear altogether, as it has in some species of rodents. This does not mean men will become extinct, however. DNA scientists believe the genes responsible for male development would be moved and replaced by “a switch that determines maleness.”

Read more: “Who Knows Y Chromosome Is Shrinking” (@The Age)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt January 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

link is broken

LeRoy January 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Can you say ‘Children of Men’

bill January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Voodoo science!

bill January 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Tie me kangaroo down sport.

Rob January 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Y_chromosome#Shrinking

The Wikipedia article has a lot of good information of the shrinking of the mammalian Y chromosome. Interesting facts to note:
# The Y chromosome MIGHT disappear in the next 10 million years.
# Since humans diverged from the common ancestor with chimps, no shrinkage in the chromosome has occurred.
# The Y chromosome mutates at a rate 4.8 times the rest of the genome. This can be inferred to say it it the most adaptable part of the genome (though that is a stretch). Also, it’s entropy is 0.84 versus the rest of the genome at 1.5 to 1.9, meaning it is more ‘hardy’ (again, a real stretch)(Also, don;t ask for a definition of ‘entropy’)

I think that since our male make-up has not further shrunk compared to chimps, that can be attributed to our success as this part of the species. Our ancestors have tried very hard to have lots of male offspring and we have sucessfully overcome the Muller’s Ratchet effect for many millions of years. All in all, keep it up guys! (Pun very much intended)

Sean January 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

The ends of chromosomes are long pieces of repeating nonsense DNA, and both introns and exons are present in chromosomal dna. BAsically what i’m saying is it can stand to loose some material without causing harm. If anything loosing the y chromosome and determining gender like rodents would lessen the odds of many recessive genetic disorders like colorblindness common specifically to us XY types

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