Men are living on borrowed time, according to a leading female scientist. Professor Jenny Graves even claims the male of the species is heading for extinction. And chaps, the bad news doesn’t end there, because the process may have already started.I for one, will welcome the new overlords.
Professor Graves, one of Australia’s most influential scientists, believes that women will win the battle of the sexes – and in the most definitive way possible. She says that the inherent fragility of the male sex chromosome, the Y sex chromosome, means that men are sliding towards extinction.
Professor Graves’s prediction hinges around the number of genes on the male and female sex chromosomes. The female, or X, chromosome, contains a healthy 1,000 or so genes.
What's more, girls and women have two of them.
The Y chromosome started off with as many genes as its female counterpart. But over hundreds of millions of years it has crumbled away, leaving fewer than 100 genes in modern man. This includes the SRY gene, the ‘male master switch’ that determines whether an embryo is male or female.
In her talk at the Australian Academy of Science, the professor described the remaining genes on the Y chromosome as being mostly ‘junk’. She said: ‘It’s a lovely example of what I call dumb design. ‘It’s an evolutionary accident.’Whew!
However, there is some good news. Professor Graves estimates that it will take five million years for the Y chromosome, and the men it produces, to disappear all together.
Other experts urged men not to panic.
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, a sex chromosome expert from the National Institute for Medical Research in London, said that studies have shown the decay to occur in bursts. And the Y chromosome has not lost any genes for at least 25 million years.
He said: ‘I would say this is of no concern whatsoever.’
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