Scientists Divided Over what will Happen to Men as Y Chromosome is Disappearing

Scientists have been divided over the gradual disappearance of the Y chromosome, the genetic marker that determines our assigned sex at birth.

The Y chromosome is said to have slowly disintegrated over the millennia of human existence, and now researchers are exploring what could happen to men should the Y chromosome vanish from our genetic makeup.

While women carry XX chromosomes throughout their lives, men have an XY chromosome with the latter carrying the ‘master switch’ gene (SRY) that determines biological sex.

However, the Y chromosome is usually slightly shrivelled compared to its counterpart and has degraded over the estimated 3.5 billion years that humans have existed.

This has led researchers to carry out studies to understand why this is happening, and they estimate that the Y chromosome has roughly 4.6 million years left before it disappears from our DNA altogether.

Although animals don’t technically need sex chromosomes, the apparent shrinking chromosome has caused researchers to question what could happen next.

Australian researcher, Jenny Graves, suggests that the Y chromosome will eventually leave our DNA, which could cause fertility problems for our species in the future due to a lack of men.

She further suggests that this could force the emergence of a new species as we evolve over the coming millions of years.

However, other scientists have a different opinion.

Professor Darren Griffin and Peter Ellis from the University of Kent believe that the end of the Y chromosome will not mean the end of men.

They suggest that the SRY gene will simply move to another chromosome, as it has done in other species such as the mole vole.

The scientists even suggest that concerns about the Y chromosome may soon be unnecessary thanks to emerging fertility technology.

Fertility technology and genetic engineering may soon be able to replace the Y chromosome altogether.

Many genes are no longer needed for human reproduction thanks to new treatments.

Until then, researchers will continue to study the degrading genetic marker as they delve deeper into the heart of human biology.



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