First the good news—the male sex is not dying out.
Then the bad news (if you dare to characterize it as such, guys)—males are not more highly evolved than females.
Just a few years ago some researchers had claimed the Y chromosome (the thingy that make men male) was shrinking and somewhere down the road men were going to disappear.
Well a new study, reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, has concluded it just isn’t so. In fact, Dr. David Page, co-author of the study, said the Y chromosome is evolving faster than the rest of the human genetic code. Page, director of the Whitehead Institute of Cambridge and a professor of biology at MIT, compared it to a house being constantly rebuilt.
But Jennifer Hughes, lead author, cautions that just because the Y chromosome, which determines gender, is evolving faster doesn’t mean men are more highly evolved. The researchers cited several reasons for Y being an evolutionary powerhouse. One is that it is single and not part of a pair like 44 other chromosomes. Hughes explains when there are mutations there is no need to recombine with matching chromosomes to compensate for the change.
Another factor has to do with mating. We won’t get into that here, guys. Let’s just be happy we’re not bound for extinction as soon as some of those wonky scientists were predicting a little while ago.
If you care to read about the study, here’s the link: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100113/full/463149a.html