Recently, we were talking about how it turns out that the Y chromosome is not about to disappear and that it arose independently in two lineages at about the same time (convergent evolution). Now this from The Scientist:
A core set of genes on the Y chromosome has been retained through much of animal evolution, not just for male sexual development, but also as regulatory genes in a wide array of tissues, according to two studies published today (April 23) in Nature. Previous research has shown that the Y chromosome has undergone dramatic gene loss, retaining only 3 percent of its ancestral genes, compared to 98 percent for the X chromosome. Two independent teams—one led by David Page at MIT, the other by Henrik Kaessmann and Diego Cortez at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland—studied a wide variety of animals to demonstrate that the Y chromosome eventually developed a stable set of genes.
The papers provide “a tremendous rational for why these genes have been retained,” said geneticist Carlos Bustamante of Stanford Medical School, who was not involved in the work. “This massacre of genes, as it were, is really tempered by the genes that have been retained, [which] have been retained for a very specific reason. It’s not a random subset of genes.”
Let’s see: Arose in two different lineages separately and is apparently needed, is also “retained for a very specific reason” and “not a random subset.”
If there were no need to placate Darwin’s followers, we would describe this situation in the same way but waste no time speculating on how it happened randomly.
Indeed, we will know that Darwin’s followers’ influence is waning when no one wastes word count in the journals on such unconvincing enterprises. Of course, if the alarm is raised, many will rush to defend him and his supposed principles. But no one will follow or believe them in practice, for no one can.
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