Alas! My fears of the inevitable demise of maleness allayed. The Y chromosone is not fading away.
A recent study determined the Y chromosone, that bastion of evolution that rendomly determines maleness in the genetic reproductive process, has stablized. Twenty-nine million years ago.
Human knowledge. Design vs Chance. Love. Sex. We’ve got a novel here.
As much as I believe there is no evidence of a giant clock-maker lording over us, even as science explains the workings of the clock in ever-increasing detail, I do not think sceintific method will ever be the vehicle to close the clock-maker down.
X and Y chromosones swap genes before producing sperm and egg in a fantastic example of natural selection. This swapping insures variation and diversity within species, a necessary ingredient for health and survival. So far, so good. In any process involving chance, ‘mistakes’ will occur, mutations leading to dead-ends and hopefully more successful versions. At times when X and Y dropped off chunks of DNA to swap, portions would flip the wrong way when patching back in, such that the X, in this instance, could no longer attach to these portions. Over time, these unusable chunks formed a kind of protective fence around the male-determining genes.
When genes don’t get used, aren’t subject to the process of variation, they are eventually jettisoned. Thus the Y shrank from roughly equivalent in size (1000 or so genes) to the X to… 19, plus another 8 ‘maleness’ genes that leapt on board; 27 total, while X stablized at 790 or so.
Is Y shrinking to irrelevance? Here’s where science and the state of human knowledge apply. The study says Y stabilized 29 million years ago.
My male compatriots and I may be simpler, but we’re not going away. (Sounds familiar, but that’s a political discussion.)
Swapping genes could be the origin of Sex and Love. Natural attraction. The now well documented mechanics of docks and ports, if you will, allowing one gene, enzyme, virus, etc., to attach to another an analogy to male and femal sex organs. Little titillations repeated microscopically millions of times within us all, manifesting chemical and emotional behaviors, cultural responses, taboos, dating rituals, laws, prejudices, silliness; like being transfixed by smooth bronze skin as an accidental effect of skin protection.
Love. X and Y need each other (the possibility of x evolving some other mechanism for aquiring/applying maleness seems plausible, the reverse not so much.) It’s all an accident, chance, natural selection, another nail in the edifice of evolution.
Unless…. I just can’t get completely beyond, when I think about X and Y dropping selected chunks of DNA in cooperation with each other, patching back together, stabilizing (how long’s that gonna last. We’re going away or becoming something else at some point,) my mind thinks as if it’s not random (Kant.) All these mechanics could have evolved per chance, and science insists this is a better explanation than the clock-maker. Science’s method and success of the method insist on it, and I agree that’s the best way to function, recognizing Science’s built-in caveat of incompleteness. But my mind keeps thinking X and Y are behaving for a purpose- to reproduce and survive; the work ethic of nature.
Y do you do what you do?
As aside; there’s something about the inherent contradiction of genes making themselves un-usable for their designed purpose (ah, look at the language,) yet serving a positive function (dropping off, patching incorrectly, forming a fence to protect Y,) and then being jettisoned because they are not being swapped anymore, that mirrors the inherent contradictions that each of us humans are. (Humans are the alien beings. We constantly strive to circumvent living in nature, driven to live artificial lives.)
Love, sex, conflict, natural selection, and the clock-maker, evolving for survival.