May 22nd, 2009



'Three hundred million years ago the Y chromosome had about 1,400 genes on it, and now it's only got 45 left, so at this rate we're going to run out of genes on the Y chromosome in about five million years.”

… I really hope, for the sake of my faith in science, that this professor is basing her conclusion on something a lot more complicated than that statistical trendline.  Because that reasoning strikes me as akin to saying “A billion years ago, the ancestors of humans had four legs, and now humans have only two!  At this rate, in another billion years we’ll have none!”  Showing that natural selection favors a Y chromosome with fewer genes isn’t the same as saying natural selection favors the Y chromosome not existing.  But this is a mainstream newspaper ‘science’ reporting.  And just because an idea makes absolutely no sense at the surface level doesn't mean it's wrong. Surely there’s more to it than that.