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The dinky Y chromosome

By skim123 in News
Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 08:58:11 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

According to this article, scientists are close to completeing a DNA mapping of the Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is a sex chromosome, determining the sex of a person - men have an X and Y chromosome, while women have a pair of X chromosomes. As a result of the ongoing mapping of the Y chromosome, scientists have found out some interesting tidbits of information on the smallest and most useless chromosome. Read on for more!

The existence of the Y chromosome is something relatively new (in evolutionary-time terms). When animals left the sea, they didn't have a Y chromosome, their sex was determined by environmental cues. Evolutionary scientists theorize that a mutation along the way turned a pair of chromosomes into the X and Y chromosome pair, where the mutated chromosome (the Y), was a blueprint for masculinity.

Since this Y chromosome appeared as a lone chromosome, cross-over could not. (Cross-over is when two like chromosomes swap some of their genetic makeup, helping to further genetic diversity.) The end result? The Y chromosome became like an incestuous child whose genetic makeup is not able to diversify.

Over time, the X and Y chromosome became quite different. Today, the Y chromosome is about a third the size of the X chromosome, and scientists postulate that, millions of years from now, the Y chromosome may work its way out of existence, seeing as it really doesn't carry that much vital information genetically. (After all, sex can be cued by other factors than genetics in other species, so, with enough time, why couldn't mamals adapt to a similar physiology too?)

Interestingly, the genetic effects scientists have traced back to the Y chromosome are unappealing ones: hairy earlobes and scally skin. (Of course the Y chromosome does do some very useful things, like carry the genes for sperm production.) Still, the Y chromosome is the runt of our genetic makeup and likely gets chided by the other genes on a daily basis.


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I have....
o Two X chromosomes 6%
o An X and a Y chromosome 67%
o Three X chromosomes 3%
o Two X's and a Y 1%
o An X and two Y's 3%
o None of the above 17%

Votes: 205
Results | Other Polls

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The dinky Y chromosome | 37 comments (28 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
Use for the gene. (1.57 / 21) (#4)
by Signal 11 on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 05:59:44 PM EST

The gene may be worthless, but it'll be quite valuable in the War of the Sexes...

Women will now incessantly joke about how science makes men dumber/inferior/[insert slur here] because of the "Y" gene.

Anyone else find it ironic that while women continue to pat themselves on the back and consider themselves more socially and morally sophisticated than their male counterparts, they are simultaniously adapting all the worst attitudes and behaviors of the male culture? I rarely, if ever, see men attack each other with the verbal ferocity that women routinely do in public places. Veiled threats, innuendo, and bravado are all part of the common communications I witness amongst women.

*shrugs* People complain men are so violent... but most children are raised by single mothers these days. Go figure. Either way, I'm a guy and I'm OK, I don't scream and shout, I walk away.

As proof of the above statement, witness the replies to this thread. =)

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Gender Troll! (2.80 / 10) (#6)
by rusty on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:02:56 PM EST

There goes Sig 11 again, gender trolling as always, [blah blah blah blah... can't be bothered to write the rest of this comment. just imagine it for yourself]...


Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

:P (2.10 / 10) (#7)
by Signal 11 on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:05:31 PM EST

[blah blah blah blah... can't be bothered to write the rest of this comment. just imagine it for yourself]...

Where's the rest of YOUR comment then? Nyaaaaah! :P

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

that's what i meant... (2.25 / 8) (#9)
by rusty on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:06:54 PM EST

By "this comment". As in, the current one, that you're reading. Most people go on berating you for longer, but I figured everyone could fill that in for themselves.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Berating-HOWTO (2.10 / 10) (#10)
by Signal 11 on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:10:31 PM EST

Step 1: Incoherent statement, do you should make.
Step 2: Insinuate the victim's mother is a professional sex services provider.
Step 3: Add tyops to your slam.
Step 4: Claim that the victim is a stupid ignoramus because OBVIOUSLY you are RIGHT and he is WRONG. capitalizing RANDOM WORDS can help.
Step 5: If in doubt, label the victim a troll.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Massively OT: Signal 11 is a TROLL (2.53 / 13) (#12)
by rusty on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:12:34 PM EST

Ok, pal, you have ask it again, this time. I seriously doubt you have any,. And furthermore, your mother probaby is a fivd dollar woman on the CRONER. If you think you ar write, I have some news for you, you are not. TROLL!

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
:P (2.15 / 13) (#13)
by Signal 11 on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:14:23 PM EST

Karma whore.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Wanted (none / 0) (#33)
by shook on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 10:54:10 AM EST

Wanted: one karma whore. Preferably sexier than Sig 11's mother. Must be cheap, and lacking an X chromosome. Please respond; I need something to use my mojo on. PayPal is preferable.

[ Parent ]
Scientists announce: (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by Hillgiant on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 06:54:16 PM EST

The troll gene has be sucessfully mapped to the `Y' chromosome (a.k.a. the `broken X'). Using a genetic sample from some of the world's most renown trolls modern science has determined that all the genetic sequences required to generate pointless, poorly-thought-out, and inflamitory posts can be traced to the `Y' chromosome.

No offence man, but you kinda walked into that one =]

A side point (IANAGS i am not a genetic scientist) but I seem to remeber from my college bio class that the male phenotype is just a variation of the female type. Men are more female than women are male. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

I love my dead gay son!

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Hrm (none / 0) (#26)
by DavidTC on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 11:37:14 AM EST

Men are more female than women are male

You realize this doesn't make sense, right? ;) It's like saying green things are more blue then blue things are green. Us men cannot be more like you women then you women are like us, because, if we're closer to women, you are automatically closer to us. ;)

Seriously, though, I know what you mean. Female is the 'default' of humanity, and men are just a common modification of the default. Genetically, we aren't that different. Hormonally, however, it's another story. I think this store is right, one day we might all by XX genetically, and pick a gender based on enviromental clues. And then...the ends of male pattern baldness! :)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

"We" wouldn't be human anymore (none / 0) (#31)
by shook on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 10:47:02 AM EST

If we evolved to such an altered state, the resulting organisms wouldn't be homo sapiens anymore. They definitely wouldn't be able to breed. I would be surprised, after such drastic genetic changes, if the resulting animals could even be considered mammals.

[ Parent ]
correction (none / 0) (#32)
by shook on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 10:48:02 AM EST

arrgh. "Wouldn't be able to breed" -> "Wouldn't be able to breed with homo sapiens."

[ Parent ]
Not be able to breed? (none / 0) (#37)
by drewcifer on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 06:50:08 PM EST

Why wouldn't the resulting organisms be able to breed? As long as there are more than one of them, they can 'choose' seperate sexes and reproduce.

Just as an aside note, I seem to remember my teacher in developmental biology presenting us with a study that followed a certain family in south american somewhere (it's been 7 years..) where some of the phenotyic females would litteraly change sex when they reached puberty...

Gosh, and I thought puberty was awkward for me...

[ Parent ]

Communications among women... (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by shirobara on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 08:55:43 PM EST

I've seen "veiled threats, innuendo, and bravado" between women all my life. I've read about it in books that are ten years old, a hundred years old and a thousand years old. I've seen the same between men and I have read of the same about men. I've also seen many styles and flavors of communication between women and women, men and men and women and men that don't fall into any of those categories. What's your point?

I shouldn't even post...but you know, when I have something to post on Slashdot I almost always post as an AC. I'm not proud of that. I'd hate to see Kuro5hin turn into a boy's club like that, where something silly like this isn't hardly blinked at. *shrug*

[ Parent ]
What do you mean (none / 0) (#38)
by StackyMcRacky on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 06:20:50 PM EST

"women will now incessantly joke"?!?!?!?!?!?!

i've been making fun of the Y for *years*!!! of course, i was educated as a microbiologist (oh man, the irony! Y chromosome....microbiology.....*giggle*).

hell, one day in college when my Non-Boyfriend Entertainment Unit of the moment really pissed me off, i started seriously researching how to fuse the nuclei of 2 eggs so i wouldn't have to deal with you fsckers anymore. but then i went to the bar and had a couple of pitchers, so the idea ended up floating down the gutter with the shiner bock. ahhh, college. i could just drink my troubles away (and boy, how i drank!!!)

[ Parent ]
Well... (3.11 / 9) (#18)
by FlinkDelDinky on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 08:46:33 PM EST

Obviously all of the other chromosomes are bloated closed source kludges while the Y chromosome embodies the GNU spirit and gives itself away whenever it possibly can. And when it can't give itself away it's usually willing to pay...

My *real* poll answer (1.50 / 2) (#21)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 11:01:37 PM EST

I've got XXX. I win!

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
genetic engineering (2.00 / 3) (#22)
by glmull on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 11:08:46 PM EST

I've always been fascinated by genetic engineering. I guess it opens up alot of issues. We like to think we evolved on this planet without anyone else's help, but did we really? I submit that we didn't.
Zetatalk tells us what will happen in 2003.
You're right (none / 0) (#23)
by skim123 on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 12:05:08 AM EST

We like to think we evolved on this planet without anyone else's help, but did we really?

Few realize it, but a shy, pimply-faced 16 year old named Jason had a bit of a hand in the whole "evolution of mankind."

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
LMAO! Keep it up!! (1.00 / 1) (#24)
by greyrat on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 09:57:15 AM EST

I love it when a simple article becomes a flaming war between brats!

Keep it up! It's a slow day for me at work. I could use some mindless entertainment! #;^D
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

Useful for Genetics (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by reshippie on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 11:36:21 AM EST

I saw something on TV about tracing the history of some position in Jewish tradition. The positions(I can't remember what it's called) is always passed on from father to son. So they looked at the Y chromasomes from these men from all over the world.

Since the Y chromasome a man passes on to his son is exactly like his, it can be used to trace heredity. What the study found was, that men of this position all over the world have basically the same Y chromasome, which means that they can be traced back, hundreds of years, to a single father.

Sounds pretty cool to me.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

Jewish tribes, and Y chromosomes. (none / 0) (#27)
by Robby on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 03:59:45 PM EST

Yep - this is correct. There are 12 tribes of 'ancient israel' , one of them being the 'cohens' or priests in hebrew. because cohens quite often didn't change their names (I bet you know someone with surname cohen) - it obviously meant that someone with the cohen surname should, if genetics is right, have similar Y chrosome markers as any other cohen. this helps with genetics, yes - theres an african tribe ('lemba' is their name) who claim they are one of the lost tribes. A documentary I saw had an anthropologist take genetic swabs from those who were of the 'priest' class in the tribe - and sure enough, the Y Chromosome markers were the same. anyway, just cool info. cheers. Rob

[ Parent ]
Jewish tribes, and Y chromosomes. (none / 0) (#29)
by azaidi on Thu Nov 02, 2000 at 04:22:01 AM EST


Sorry, your wrong.

IIRC it was a documentary on the BBC and what they actually ended up discovering was that the *men* had some genes that could be traced to people of middle-eastern origin. The theory advanced was that this was caused by Arab traders inter-marrying with the local population. The tribe picked up the 'lost tribe' bit later. If they really were a lost tribe of Israel the women would have had some middle-eastern genes as well.

... Or something like that.

My memories a little hazy on the details. It's been quite a few months since I saw the program.


[ Parent ]
Hey (none / 0) (#28)
by FlinkDelDinky on Wed Nov 01, 2000 at 04:08:01 PM EST

I saw a similar show. The scientest were trying to find out if an African tribe pretty much living in the middle of Africa had Jewish ancestry.

Apparently Jews with a certian last name (the ones who used to be from the Priest Tribe, is that Levi?) often share a similar genetic trait. If you have this trait then you're an "authentic" offspring of the original bloodline. And not just someone that took on the name.

Anyway, this remote African tribe does indeed posses this specific genetic characteristic.

[ Parent ]

The Cohanim... (none / 0) (#36)
by A.S. on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:49:03 PM EST

...is the name for the hereditary Jewish priesthood.

You can go to here to read about one of the studies.

And this was probably the special you saw. Nova is kewl! :)

I can't claim the credit for finding it though. Lilly just posted something about it on Tuesday. (Bloody conscience.)


[ Parent ]

Runt?! You mean non-conformist! (none / 0) (#30)
by Pseudonym on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 01:32:35 AM EST

Still, the Y chromosome is the runt of our genetic makeup and likely gets chided by the other genes on a daily basis.

It is this typical chromosomist thinking which causes non-conformist chromosomes to be villified and alienated throughout the biological world. Expect a series of "Hellmouth" articles on k5 soon.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Speak for yourself! (none / 0) (#34)
by error 404 on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 12:26:11 PM EST

My Y chromosome is far from dinky.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Late Submission (none / 0) (#35)
by simmons75 on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 06:36:13 PM EST

I realize this article may be dead, but I feel it necessary to point out that there is the potential for an individual to have a Y chromosome and be female or to not have a Y chromosome and be male. This isn't ordinarily a problem, of course, unless you're an Olympic athlete, but it's something for the Commitee to think about (along with immediate execution of doctors who give athletes steroids right before testing =)
So there.

The dinky Y chromosome | 37 comments (28 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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