For long, the smaller Y chromosome was considered as just a factor which reversed the default state of being female. But new research suggests that there is a lot more attached to this diminutive chromosome.
New surveys that map its evolutionary history of the chromosome suggest that it consists of genes which govern the general operation of the genome.
All cells in a man’s body have the pair of X and Y chromosomes while female body consists of cells that only have X chromosomes.
Since the Y chromosome has shed several hundreds of genes over time, its size is comparatively smaller. Yet, it still carries vital information that determines the functioning of the genome along with determining sex.
The research aimed at mapping the evolution of the Y chromosome found that the rhesus monkey’s Y chromosome had pretty much the same number of genes as the one in humans.
It seems that the Y chromosome must have stabilized some 25 million years ago in the evolutionary clock and has since remained the same way.
Two new studies on the chromosome were conducted by different teams led by Daniel W. Bellott and David C.
Page of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and by Diego Cortez and Henrik Kaessmann of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
Dr. Kaessmann says that the Y chromosome originated around 181 million years ago. The new find explains the many reasons for the intrinsic difference in male and female cells beyond the mere ‘sex switch’ theory.