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Research Finds the Y Chromosome Controls More Than Just Biological Sex

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The more scientists who study sex, genetics, and gender, the more we’re learning about a topic that’s increasingly more complicated than we ever imagined.

Biological males all share a piece of genetic material known as the Y chromosome, which, as far as we’ve known, exists to control the function of the sexual organs and other sex-related characteristics. This new study, though, suggests it has a bigger role to play in the male anatomy.

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The research was published in Scientific Reportsand suggests that the Y chromosome could also regulate many cellular processes throughout the body. The Y chromosome could, the authors say, answer long-held questions about the fundamental differences between men and women, such as why certain diseases and illnesses affect one sex more than the other.

The researchers genetically modified male mice to lack a gene on their Y chromosome with the intent of observing the effect on how different cells functioned throughout the body. They noticed differences first in the mouse’s heart tissue, and related changes in cardiac function and health.

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That led, says study author Christian Deschepper, to the idea that the Y chromosome could actually play a role in understanding heart disease in males.

“Our discovery provides a better understanding of how male genes on the Y chromosome allow male cells to function differently from female cells.

In the future, these results could help to shed some light on why some diseases occur differently in men and women.”

They also found evidence that the various genes on the Y chromosome may work together as a unit, rather than individually, which is something they’re looking forward to exploring further in the future.

Image Credit: Pexels

More time and research will surely bring more answers, and everyone born as a male could eventually benefit from them.

What do you think of this discovery? Surprising? Interesting? Couldn’t care less?

Let us know in the comments!