Could humans go extinct in some million years?
In humans, like other mammals, females have two X chromosomes and males have one X and one Y chromosome.
Researchers have found that the Y chromosome seems to be disappearing, as seen in other mammals like platypus and two branches of rodents. The good news is that these species did not go extinct, but developed a new sex gene.
Could it be the same for humans? What changes would this contain? Read on to learn more about the findings of a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
How the Y chromosome determines human sex
The Y chromosome contains a gene that kick-starts male development in the embryo.
After about 12 weeks, this master gene activates other genes that regulate the development of a testis. The embryonic testis makes testosterone and its derivatives, and the baby develops as a boy.
The disappearing Y
Most mammals have an X and Y chromosome. The unequal dosage of X genes in males and females comes with a problem.
Australia’s platypus (mammal) has completely different sex chromosomes. In platypus, the XY pair is just an ordinary chromosome, with two equal members.
Scientists believe that this must imply that the Y chromosome has lost 900–55 active genes over the 166 million years that humans and platypus have been evolving separately.
Considering this rate, the last 55 genes will be gone in 11 million years.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark that is influenced by underlying genetic profile, environment, and ageing. In addition to X-linked DNA methylation, sex-specific methylation patterns are widespread across autosomal chromosomes and can be present from birth or arise over time. In individuals where gender identity and sex assigned at birth are markedly incongruent, as in the case of transgender people, feminization or masculinization may be sought through gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT). GAHT is a cornerstone of transgender care, yet no studies to date have investigated its effect on genome-wide methylation.
Moderna Patent (methylation) https://assets.modernatx.com/m/197fe68e2047ca6a/original/US10703789.pdf
Each year 6-7 billion male chicks are culled, because only females are needed for egg laying. Many other animals are also culled because one sex is desired either for food production or research. There are many research questions that are sex specific, and therefore large numbers of a single sex of a specific strain of mice may be required. Culling is a crude way to achieve these ends, and raises concerns about humanely treating animals.
For these reasons researchers have been looking for ways to achieve high degrees of sex selection in animals more efficiently and humanely. A new study published in Nature Communications (CRISPR-Cas9 effectors facilitate generation of single-sex litters and sex-specific phenotypes) seems to have made a significant advance in this direction, using CRISPR-Cas9 (a gene-editing system) to create a sex-selection system for either male or female mice that operates with 100% efficiency.
The idea is clever – insert one half of a CRISPR-Cas9 kill switch into the X-chromosome of a female mouse, then insert the other half into either the X or Y chromosome of a male mouse. Only those embryos that get both halves of the CRISPR-Cas9 system (either XX or XY) will be killed at the early embryo stage.
This approach has been used before, in insects and zebrafish, but never in mammals. There are also other methods for sex selection that don’t rely on culling, such as sperm sorting, but this approach is not very efficient, and doesn’t work in birds where the females gametes determine sex.
This new system has proven 100% effective in mice, and should easily port to other mammals such as pigs and cattle. The researches targeted a gene, the Top 1 gene, that codes for an enzyme critical for early DNA replication in a developing embryo. Inactivating this gene is a “suicide switch” for the embryo. This gene is also highly conserved, and the reason why it should work in all mammals, not just mice.
The researchers discovered that the early activity of this suicide switch has a specific advantage in sex-selection systems – it actually increases the yield (not just the ratio) of the desired sex compared to unselected litters. This happens because is many mammals with litters of multiple offspring, the females overproduce eggs, and not all eggs implant in the uterus. Therefore, if the eggs of the undesired sex are killed very early on more eggs from the desired sex can implant in the uterus and develop.
Finally the research found that this system is safe, without any unwanted effects on the offspring of the desired sex. The researchers also point out that the suicide effect occurs too early in the development of the embryo to be used as part of a gene-drive effect that can alter future generations.
Obviously more research needs to be done to confirm these results, further demonstrate safety, and demonstrate effectiveness in other mammalian species. A version will also have to be developed in order to apply to the poultry industry, since birds have a different chromosomal sex system (ZW) than mammals (XY). But the potential here is very promising. The researchers state that the express purpose of this research was to eliminate the need for culling in animal research and food systems.
The Depopulation and Transhumanism Agenda is commencing..
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