Is the Y-Chromosome Disappearing?

For millions of years, our chromosomes have been telling us what we are. Women have two strong X chromosomes (XX) while men have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). But as time has been going on, the Y chromosome has slowly been disappearing leaving men with a strong X chromosome, but a weak Y chromosome.


So is the Y chromosome fully disappearing? And if it does, what does this mean for the future of men?


Right now, researchers have found that Y chromosome have developed unusual structures called “palindromes”, which protect the chromosome from further degradation. So over the next few decades and probably centuries, scientists will be monitoring the Y chromosome in men to see what happens next.


But if the Y chromosome continues to degrade — what’s next? Even if males lost their Y chromosomes completely, males and females are both needed for reproduction. If males were to lose their Y chromosomes, the SRY “master switch” gene (the gene that determines male vs. female) would then move on to a different chromosome all together, meaning that males would still be able to reproduce without needing a Y chromosome.


At the end of the day, you don’t need to worry — there’s no real say whether or not the Y chromosome will ever fully disappear. We won’t really need to worry about this for another 4+ million years.


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