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Article about genes and xy/xx expression

(22 Posts)
Ekphrasis Tue 07-Nov-17 12:44:23

I’ve just read this article I i thought some would find it interesting.

It is difficult as a part of it is not necessarily good for feminism; at the same time is some quite strong science regarding ideas of transgender and human biology.

It’s best interpretation could be regarding medicine and medical treatments.

Datun Tue 07-Nov-17 13:00:15

I don’t think anyone disputes there are genetic differences between men and women. And the science is ongoing.

But, whether it’s genetic, or whether it’s socialisation, the hierarchy between men and women means that women are on the bottom and men on the top.

Men constitute the perpetrators of 98% of sexually violent crime.

AGP is an explicitly male fetish.

I’m all for more research into genetic differences. But until that research can change the behaviour of men, who threaten women, we still need to segregate based on the category of sex.

I would love it if genetic research could result in turning off the ‘male violence’ gene. Because it would solve an awful lot of problems.

But until then...

Ekphrasis Tue 07-Nov-17 13:24:32

I think this research points more towards the way the body works being a third reliant on xy/ xx, which has implications for transgender people as essentially they can alter the hormone element but there may be many other genes controlled by the y to do with other things, mainly medical which is I guess important from medical POV. Such as drug metabolism etc.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 13:51:28

The biology is extremely interesting. But nonetheless we are not really in a position yet to make links between biology and behaviour. The most striking thing about human behaviour is its adaptability.

We can live in the desert, we can live on the ice. We can be nomadic or agrarian. We can eat meat, we can be vegetarian. We can live peacefully, we can wage war. We can live a landlocked existence, we can rely on boats and the sea for our subsistence. We can hunt bison, work the fields, fight off marauders, work computers, commute squashed in a train surrounded by strangers and spend all day politely in an office. We are an incredibly successful species just because we can adapt our behaviour to our circumstances.

Men can do this and women can too. In my view it'll be time to look for a biological explanation for specifically male violence once the glaring societal ones have been seriously considered.

DJBaggySmalls Tue 07-Nov-17 13:56:36

Facts are good for feminism. 'Equality' does not mean we are identical, far from it. If we were identical we wouldn't have to ask for equality. Liberal feminists want women to be equal with men. But that does not mean the same, or identical treatment. Radical feminists want liberation and autonomy for women.
So for example, having women included in drug trials matters, because we react differently to many drugs. We are not a subset of men.

The article is good news for feminism, its more evidence that humans are a sexually dimorphic species. That is under attack right now, despite all common sense and evidence.
This is an interesting article about mitochondrial DNA, which you only inherit from your mother;

scaevola Tue 07-Nov-17 13:59:05

I expect however that people will continue to look at gene expression, how that may be more important that the presence of particular genes, and what that might mean for all characteristics, including definitions of intersex, which might need to consider expression as well as presence.

Also acquired changes in genes over lifetime.

Lottapianos Tue 07-Nov-17 14:01:11

'In my view it'll be time to look for a biological explanation for specifically male violence once the glaring societal ones have been seriously considered'

Completely agree. Male violence and aggression are facilitated and even encouraged by our society. All the energy needs to be directed into changing that first

scaevola Tue 07-Nov-17 14:07:51

"humans are a sexually dimorphic species"

That is not biological fact. There are intersex people.

The definitions of what constitutes intersex can vary (and I have seen some rather extreme social polemics in this, seeking to rubbish the whole idea based on fringe views, rather than the core science) and in terms of gene expression - as more 'sex' linkages are discovered/suspected - there is still much to be ascertained.

The necessary work to establish more about about how medicines are metabolised in different bodies may well illuminate this further (ie it's not only about X and Y , but also whether the expected expressions associated with presence/absence of them are actually working)

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 14:22:08

You can't make sexual dimorphism go away just by saying it doesn't exist. Human reproduction depends on it. Definitions of intersex don't have any bearing on this.

Datun Tue 07-Nov-17 14:35:37

Intersex, of course, deserves its own platform.

But I do wish people would stop bringing it into any kind of discussion about the reasons for transgenderism.

Apart from being utterly irrelevant, the intersex society have said on record not to co-opt them to shore up an ideology.

Unless they have now changed their mind?

DonkeySkin Tue 07-Nov-17 14:46:28

Disorders of sexual development do not invalidate the sex binary, just as blindness does not invalidate the fact that humans are a sighted species. Intersex people are not a third sex; indeed the concept of intersex itself only makes sense within the existing binary - it literally means 'between two sexes'.

Imagine if we applied this logic - that disorders of development mean we can't make factual statements about standard human anatomy - to all of biology:

'human beings are a bipedal species'

That is not a biological fact. There are people born without legs and amputees.

'human beings have kidneys'

That is not a biological fact. Some people are born without kidneys.

FWIW, sexual dimorphism actually refers to differences in appearance between the sexes of a given species, especially size, e.g., some species of spider are highly sexually dimorphic, with the females many times larger than the males. I guess the more accurate phrase would be that human sexual reproduction is binary: disorders of sexual development exist, but there are no 'third sex' people who can bring a different sex chromosome (say, a Z) into the mix of the sexually reproducing XX and XY.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 14:53:00

The word 'sexual' itself refers to a binary. In asexual reproduction an organism clones itself, in sexual reproduction a new organism is formed from the fusion of 2 gametes of different types (sexes).

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 14:54:43

* Gametes of 2 different types produced respectively by 2 individuals of different sexes

Sentimentallentil Tue 07-Nov-17 15:05:02

How is this bad for feminism? Surely it just gives more backing to the fact you can’t change sex.

Ekphrasis Tue 07-Nov-17 15:05:26

I’m pretty much convinced by a wide variety of research and personal experience in how children develop that male violence is societal, and the roots start very early.

The epigenetic side of things is very interesting.

I felt this was an article worth reading.

scaevola Tue 07-Nov-17 15:05:39

Human reproduction does indeed depend on gametes.

But that does not mean that it is a binary system. Especially when it is acknowledged by all posters that intersex exists. Though I note fewer comments on the possible roles of typical/atypical gene expression.

Fecundity is necessary for the survival of the species, but is not required for the individual. Some (most?) forms of intersex inevitably lead to infertility, but that has not eliminated intersex.

The issue highlighted in this article - the expression of other bodily characteristics, and whether that is linked to typical X and Y patterns - tends to show even greater potential for variations.

It is not the same argument as missing limbs etc, because it is not inherently a dysfunction or a malformation.

Ekphrasis Tue 07-Nov-17 15:06:51

Sentimental, the potential for people to say there’s a difference between men and women and use it to argue that therefore roles should be different in the work place. Eg brains.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 15:13:12

It's interesting though, isn't it, that despite marked chromosomal and hormonal differences between sexes these don't seem to translate (even in the context of brain plasticity and differences in socialisation) into reliable difference in brain structure or function.

And not for the want of looking I might add.

Sentimentallentil Tue 07-Nov-17 15:21:01

But there are already differences between men and women, men tend to be bigger, women live longer, women birth the babies, men are more susceptible to genetic conditions.
There are already biological differences between the sexes, in fact every chromosone in my body is different to a mans, but differences don’t mean we have to succumb to gender roles as there is difference between individuals too and just because someone’s body is a certain way doesn’t mean you can tell what characteristics they have. You couldn’t scan a persons brain and tell whether that person was good at golf or loved to wear high heels, just because you’re tall doesn’t mean you’re good at basketball.

WhatWouldGenghisDo Tue 07-Nov-17 15:22:10

Genetic variation is interesting to study and in no way invalidating of anyone's humanity, but currently irrelevant to the binary nature of sexual reproduction because as yet no 3rd category of gamete has emerged from it.

Ekphrasis Tue 07-Nov-17 15:42:23

I guess we know the brain is very plastic and affected by many external factors. At its most plastic from the ages of 0-3 (the most important time imo regarding many things including the early seeding of male violence) and briefly in the early teens; it stops developing in our early 20s. So plenty of opportunity to be developed and changed. And it can learn new things it’s whole life.

Sentimentallentil Tue 07-Nov-17 15:52:08

How is it not a disorder?

My understanding is that there are many different types of intersex, some caused by a genetic condition such as Turner Syndrome, or because of a hormonal imbalance such as women who have enlarged clitorus and a closed vaginal opening.
I don’t think that it’s something that needs to be ‘fixed’ but I can’t see how it’s not an disorder.

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