I've never been fond of the human Y chromosome. Yes, the all-important SRY gene sets the early embryo on a path towards maleness, but the rest? Mostly DNA borrowed from a long-ago X, peppered with eight long palindromes.
"The Y is a pathetic little chromosome with lots of junk. It is gene-poor, prone to deletion, and useless. You can lack a Y and not be dead, just female," Jennifer Marshall Graves told me years ago when I defiled the Y in The Scientist. She's professor emeritus of Australian National University, an evolutionary geneticist who works on kangaroos, platypus, Tasmanian devils, and various dragon lizards.
But men missing the Y in some of their white blood cells face heightened health risks. That was a mere association a few years ago, but now appears to be causal, according to results of an investigation in Science from researchers at Uppsala University. The research combines clues from mouse studies and epidemiological data from the UK Biobank.
To continue reading go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.