Y Chromosomes Actually Linked to Survival
By Courtney Flannery 2014-04-26 12:57:55
Genetics is one of the most interesting parts of science. Our genes determine everything from our hair and eye color to how short or tall we will eventually be. Our body's biological sex is obviously also determined by them, too. A recent study finds that the sex linked chromosome in men may play a larger role than just determining what parts they have below the belt.
According to Headlines and Global News , scientists have learned that the Y chromosome is responsible not only for determining if a fetus is a boy but also is linked to a developing a tougher immune system in men. I know this may be a little shocking considering that most men turn into complete whiners when they're sick, but apparently their bodies are less likely to get sick. Researchers believe that the basic survival of men is linked to this chromosome. The study was conducted by Washington University and the Baylor College of Medicine.
The research team analyzed Y chromosomes across several species to see if there were any similarities over time. First, they compared the male sex-linked chromosome of the rhesus monkey, chimpanzees, and humans. They found that the Y chromosome has only let go of one gene over the last 25 million years, meaning the stuff it carries must be pretty important. They then checked the same chromosome in rats, opossums, marmosets, mice and bulls and found exactly the same result. Scientists say that evolution points to these genes being critical for survival and they've been refined over time.
Scientists are constantly finding out new stuff about our bodies and how our genes work. I remember as a kid learning about the mapping of the human genome and being completely blown away by the complexity of our DNA, but also that scientists were able to figure it all out in the first place. Hopefully in the near future the study of genetics and health will lead to cures for devastating illnesses like cancer and AIDS . I am very excited to keep seeing these awesome discoveries rolling out and helping more people.
The next step for the researchers is to determine more in depth the specific tasks that the Y chromosome does in the biologically male body. They feel pretty solid in their previous work where they've determined that the XY and XX genes present in male bodies are pretty similar. But scientists really want to see how the differences manifest in not only in appearance but their functionality. Hopefully by learning more about these chromosomes, we can find out more about sex linked diseases or just understand a little better how basic genetics works. So next time your boyfriend is crying through a cold, tell him his genes are really too tough for any whining and give him a box of tissues.