What a relief to know that men might not be an endangered species with a potential expiration date in only 5 million years, according to a new study published, appropriately (if heavy-handedly), in a journal called Nature. The issue boils down to a predicted, but now contested, process of genetic decay targeting the man-specific Y chromosome.
Previous research has suggested the Y sex chromosome, which only men carry, is decaying genetically so fast that it will be extinct in five million years’ time.
A gene within the chromosome is the switch which leads to testes development and the secretion of male hormones.
But a new US study in Nature suggests the genetic decay has all but ended.
[...] Jennifer Hughes and colleagues at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have sought to determine whether rumours of the Y chromosome’s demise have been exaggerated.