The End of Y Chromosome Is Near – Will Men Become Extinct?
While men are considered stronger than women, that is not true at the chromosomal level. The Y chromosome, which is responsible for determining whether an embryo develops into a male or a female, is becoming weaker and weaker as time passes. This means that, in about 4.6 million years, according to scientists, the Y chromosome will die out completely, which would effectively be the end of the male population.
Why is the Y chromosome so important?
The Y chromosome has the switching gene which is responsible for changing the gender of the all-female embryo. Otherwise, it is pretty much useless, as women do not have the Y chromosome and function perfectly well without it. However, according to scientists, this was not always be the case. About 166 million years ago, the Y chromosome was just as strong as the X chromosome, containing all the same genes.
What makes the Y chromosome prone to degeneration?
The fault lies within the passing of the chromosome from the father to the son. While all the other chromosomes are passed in pairs from parents to their children, the Y chromosome is passed on in a single copy. This is problematic because when chromosomes are passed in pairs, the genes within can form distinct combinations which allow for the elimination of faulty gene mutations. The Y chromosome, due to its singularity, does not have that option, hence, are prone to weakness and ultimate destruction.
However, a recent study has shown how the Y chromosome may have worked out a solution to its probable demise, slowing down its degeneration, maybe even stopping it altogether. The study, which studied the Y chromosome in around 62 men, identified how the Y chromosome, although unable to form recombination of genes, rearranges its structure to a great extent in order to allow for a stronger gene pool every time its passed on.
This unique structural formation in the Y chromosome is called palindromes, which means the genetic code embedded within the Y chromosome is stored in such a way that it can be read both forwards as well as backwards (such as “kayak”).
While conducting the research, scientists observed how the Y chromosome carried out many conversion events, changing the faulty genes with the backup copies that came with the palindromic structure of the chromosome. To make the findings more conclusive, researchers looked at the Y chromosome structures in other animals, mostly mammals, and found that the Y chromosome was performing gene amplification there as well.
However, the medical community is split over whether these defense mechanisms are enough to save the Y chromosome, with many arguing that this is simply the Y chromosome’s final try to save itself, and it will eventually fail.
What Will Happen If the Y Chromosome Disappears?
There are a few species that have lost the Y chromosome completely, such as mole voles. Interestingly, males continue to be born because they are essential for reproduction. This is happening because the switching gene which was present in the Y chromosome has now moved on to another chromosome. Now, the Y chromosome is not needed at all in those species.
However, a property of the switching gene is that it disallows for the traveling of the chromosome in pairs, hence the new chromosome hosting the switching gene will start degenerating itself.
Does the Y chromosome Matter Anymore in Humans?
With the advancement in genetic engineering technology, it is now becoming increasingly possible to engineer and replicate the switching gene which is responsible for determining the gender of human beings. As most genes found in the Y chromosome are not necessary at all, it is possible to remove the Y chromosome entirely without impacting humans at all. This also means that, thanks to science, it may become possible for same-gender couples to conceive a child.
Nothing to Worry About
However, this would not be necessary for millions of years, as the Y chromosome will persist. Hence, most human generations that are to follow will be born the natural way without any need of scientific intervention.
In fact, the scientific community is not even sure if the Y chromosome will disappear at all. And, considering how unimportant the Y chromosome is, its disappearance is no reason for alarm.
More in Health & Well-Being
Experts Reveal The Reason Why You Have Headaches After Eating
Have you ever wondered why after having a delicious lunch or dinner, you’re suddenly hit with an intense headache when you’re...December 1, 2018
American Cancer Society Drops Ideal Screening Age at 45
According to the recent statistics, more and more people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. However, not everyone is actually as...December 1, 2018
Signs You May Have an Exercise Obsession!
We all know the importance of exercise. Working out helps us maintain a fitter and leaner body as we develop more...December 1, 2018
Follow these Skincare Tips to Soothe Your Dry Skin This Winter Season!
Most people dread the Winter Season due to the cold, dry, and frosty weather it brings. It interferes with our routine...December 1, 2018
Experience Jack and Rose’s Epic Love Story as You Sail on the Titanic II
When we talk about classical romance stories, we often think about those heart-wrenching epic love stories like Romeo and Juliet (of...November 30, 2018
New Study Suggests Low-Carb Diet Helps You Lose Weight
If there’s a controversial food group most people debate, it’d be carbs. Some people claim eating carbs help boost their energy,...November 30, 2018
Experts Give these Effective Meditation Tips for First Timers!
One of the most efficient methods of harnessing your mental health is through meditation. We’ve heard the astounding benefits you get...November 30, 2018
Kim Kardashian Goes on Vacay with Kids and Sisters, Kanye West Not Included
Everyone knows how it’s all sunshine and butterflies at the beginning of a marriage. The couple is totally head over heels...November 29, 2018
Experts Reveal The Secret to Dealing with and Overcoming Your Anxiety
Most people feel and deal with anxiety at some point in their lives. Maybe they’re bothered about how they perform in...November 29, 2018