Stuff to read: Why should our Y chromosome disappear, after all?
Last Updated on January 19, 2019 by Joseph Gut – thasso
As the person behind thasso.com and the writer of some of the posts to be found on thasso post, I was this very morning by chance stumbling upon the article coined “Stuff to Read”. Being a male (and definitively a carrier of the XY genetic constellation), I was somewhat flabbergasted and angry at the same time.
On a population and evolutionary life line, there may be some aspects to be considered though. The Y chromosome is genetically seen the symbol of masculinity. It carries the “master switch” gene SRY. SRY is an intronlesssex-determining gene on the Y chromosome in therians (placental mammals and marsupials). SRY determines whether an embryo will develop as male (XY) or female (XX). At first glance, the Y chromosome seems to contain very few other genes and appears as the only chromosome seemingly not necessary for life. Women, after all, manage just fine without one. But than, these are women with associated phenotype(s). Sightly different in appearance and behaviour, in many aspects, than men, the carriers of of the Y chromosome. However, mutations in the SRY gene lead to a range of sex-related disorders with varying effects on an individual’s phenotype and genotype. Would that be sufficient for a call on the Y chromosome to disappear? I don’t think so, since, if I remember correctly, also carriers of the XX- or XO genetic combinations may possibly suffer from a variety
of X-related disorders, such as Perrault Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, and possibly many other 46XX-related conditions. In this context, XO means that there is no Y chromosome present in the individuals karyotype.
Now, should in fact the Y-carrying men be gone, we may embark on the replacement of them by “ANI-MALES” in order to secure further reproduction of the human race. The idea comes out of the questions if we should and/or could engineer animals as being smart as humans are. This should be possible, given the todays genetic engineering techniques available. One would have to be careful and perfect in that approach, since arguing that the Y chromosome of today’s men has degenerated rapidly, leaving females with two perfectly normal X chromosomes (which, by he way, is not always true, as we can see above) and males with an X and a shrivelled Y we would have to be much more perfect with a replacement then.
Apart from that, I find a sheer elegance in the appearance of the Y chromosome in a variety of modern visualisation techniques. It would be a definite loss if, at the rate discussed for its continuing degeneration, the Y chromosome would have just 4.6m years left before it disappears completely.
See also here: