21 May 2009

Be like rodents or die - Men face extinction

According to the Telegraph we men are on the road to extinction as the number of genes on our Y chromosome shrink and fade away.

Mercifully we are not looking at the year after next but according to researcher Professor Jennifer Graves the Y chromosome is dying and could run out within the next five million years.

In a lecture, entitled The Decline and Fall of the Y Chromosome and the Future of Men at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Ireland, Professor Graves sad: "You need a Y chromosome to be male," she said “Three hundred million years ago the Y chromosome had about 1,400 genes on it, and now it's only got 45 left, so at this rate we're going to run out of genes on the Y chromosome in about five million years. The Y chromosome is dying and the big question is what happens then."

The male Y chromosome has a gene (SRY) which switches on the development of testis and thus determines maleness. She said it was not known what would happen once the Y chromosome disappeared. "Humans can't become parthenogenetic, like some lizards, because several vital genes must come from the male," she continued. "But the good news is that certain rodent species - the mole voles of Eastern Europe and the country rats of Japan - have no Y chromosome and no SRY gene. Yet there are still plenty of healthy male mole voles and country rats running around. Some other gene must have taken over the job and we'd like to know what that gene is."

Professor Jennifer Graves said men may follow the path of a type of rodent which still manages to reproduce despite not having the vital genes that make up the Y chromosome.

Given the number of women who consider men to be rats then that should not be a problem!


Sean Jeating said...

In the year 5,000,2009:
She - Darling, I have no headache, for a change.
He - Fuck, where's my Y chromosome?!

stan said...

men as rats? These women must be v disillusioned w relationships. Haha. Intersting article!

Laroquod said...

What's the mechanism by which this scientist proposes that the Y chromosome is shrinking? Do chromosomes just shrink randomly? Are ALL our chromosomes shrinking? Um ... no. Chromosomes change because evolution selects that it be so. If a chromosome shrinking meant it would eventually disappear, then all life would have disappeared long ago, wouldn't it?

No there is no magical cold-water way shrinking male chromosomes. If a sex-differentiated chromosome is getting smaller, then that just means that the sexes have been getting less differentiated since we were chimps. No surprise there! Notice that once you state it in the common sense way, it is easy to see that this does not in any way mean that men (or women) will disappear.

The assumptions in this article appear to show no understanding of evolution.

jams o donnell said...

Haha Sean! Good one!

It certainly caught my attention Stan!

THe Y Chromosome does not carry muchh valuable genetic informatin compared to other Xsoms but that is not to say it isn't unimportant it does carry teh gene to turn on maleness (except for some rats and voles)

While the title of the post distorts, I think that the researcher is not going to stand up in front of teh Irish Royal College of Surgeons and spout total nonsense.

If the Huma Y xsome does eventually become devoid of important genetic information then another mechanism will probably evolve.

Anonymous said...

What a load of old...

jams o donnell said...

iron. Aileni?