Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Y-Chromosome is dying!!111!!

Or not. I get the feeling I blogged about this before, yet can not find the post. In short, there was a theory that the Y-Chromosome would go extinct in a certain time, well it does not:

Theories that men will eventually become extinct because the Y chromosome which determines maleness is shrinking are quite wrong, according to a new gene study.

The men-are-doomed scenario leapt to prominence nearly a decade ago when scientists found that the male chromosome had dramatically shrivelled.

[...]But the latest study says the Y's shrinkage occurred in the very distant past and the chromosome has been wonderfully stable for millions of years.

[...]The new evidence comes from a comparison of the human Y chromosome with that of the rhesus macaque - a so-called Old World monkey whose evolutionary path diverged from humans and chimps some 25 million years ago.

The rhesus Y chromosome has not lost a single ancestral gene in all this time, says the study.

By comparison, the human Y has lost one ancestral gene, occurring in a tiny segment that accounts for just three percent of the entire chromosome.

"With no loss of genes on the rhesus Y and one gene lost on the human Y, it's clear the Y isn't going anywhere,'' said Jennifer Hughes of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Her boss, David Page, said he had been fighting the notion of the "rotting Y'' for the past 10 years and believed the new paper "simply destroys'' the theory.

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