Genetics News

X chromosome: All in a days work for random processes

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whose junkpile just happens to function like an alien’s supercomputer

From Carl Zimmer at the New York Times:

In the journal Neuron, a team of scientists has unveiled an unprecedented view of X-chromosome inactivation in the body. They found a remarkable complexity to the pattern in which the chromosomes were switched on and off.

At the same time, each copy of the X chromosome contains versions of genes not found on its partner. So having two X chromosomes gives females more genetic diversity than males, with their single X chromosome. Because of that, females have a genetic complexity that scientists are only starting to understand.

“Females simply have access to realms of biology that males do not have,” said Huntington F. Willard, the director of Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, who was not involved in the research.

We should be working but …

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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9 Replies to “X chromosome: All in a days work for random processes

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    At the same time, each copy of the X chromosome contains versions of genes not found on its partner. So having two X chromosomes gives females more genetic diversity than males, with their single X chromosome. Because of that, females have a genetic complexity that scientists are only starting to understand.

    I just love this kind of gender-driven scientific research. Let’s see now. A male has both a Y chromosome and an X chromosome and somehow, by some inscrutable scientific magic, females with two slightly different X chromosomes are more genetically complex than males? Run that by me one more time, por favor.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Well didn’t that just sorta happen too? How do you compute when there are no meaningful terms?

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Mapou,

    It’s a matter of the female definitely carrying more genetic material than the male. And Y chromosomes are puny compared to the X.

    So if more genetic material = more complexity, then that would be their reasoning.

    Heck as far as I can tell females have a complexity that scientists will never understand 🙂

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    It’s a matter of the female definitely carrying more genetic material than the male. And Y chromosomes are puny compared to the X.

    So if more genetic material = more complexity, then that would be their reasoning.

    Joe, the two X chromosomes in a female are almost identical. I just don’t see how two X-chromosomes can be more complex than a Y and an X chromosomes. My problem with gender-driven research is that it is inherently sexist. For whatever reason, some researchers seem to think that their duty is to look for superiority in one gender over the other. That is so small-minded, in my opinion. Chromosome researchers should just be in awe of the amazing complexity of the male-female design. They should look at it from a yin-yang perspective whereby male and female are two complementary sides of the same coin, not antagonistic sides.

    And it makes sense that the Y-chromosome is small compared to the X-chromosome. Female bodies are more complex only because their bodies must perform complex processes in order to procreate and carry offsprings to term. But they are not more complex genetically. They would be if we had only a single chromosome instead of two. The more interesting question is why does nature use a pair of chromosomes when only one would do? Personally, as a Christian, I believe that, at one point in our history, humans were androgynous but that’s a different story.

    The important point is that the whole thing screams DESIGN. And I think that is O’Leary’s main point.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    Mapou,

    The equation: 2X > Xy = X > y (see it’s a small y) 😎

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    Joe,

    The equation: 2X > Xy = X > y (see it’s a small y)

    Yes but the two Xs are almost identical. So it’s a sure bet that the additional X sequences in females add up to less genetic information than the Y chromosome in males. But, like I said, this has very little scientific value. It would have been so much easier if both sexes carried a pair of X and Y chromosomes. Suppressing one or the other would determine gender. But, for some mysterious reason, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X chromosome that is not used except when passing it to their offsprings during procreation. It’s weird and it has DESIGN written all over it. I think this is something that ID biologists should focus on. There’s gold in there somewhere.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    To make my point @6 a little clearer, I should add that duplicate DNA sequences do not add to complexity. Only unique sequences do.

  8. 8
    Papa_Giorgio says:

    That was a great read! Thank you. I updated my Male and Female Physiological Differences with some of the info from it, thank you:

    ? http://religiopoliticaltalk.co.....fferences/

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Mapou:

    The point is simply that, while the Y chromosome certainly adds interesting specificities to the male, iy is equally true that two X chromosomes can provide important diversity of alleles in the female, and the mechanism of X inactivation is another interesting source of diversity and potential complexity.

    They are different situations, interestingly different. I agree with you, however, that the “sexist” view, whatever it is, is stupid.

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