Tuesday, May 27, 2008

at last: the female genome

Almost a decade after the "human" genome, which was a blend of several male specimens of our species, and months after the individual genomes of some horrid old blokes, genomics has finally overcome the final hurdle and decoded the genome of a woman.

This step was achieved in the Netherlands, and the pioneering sequencee is a geneticist called Marjolein Kriek, I am told.

I'm sure there will be people defending the practice of sequencing lots of males first, as females don't have a Y chromosome, but then again, males don't have X-inactivation, so if you look at epigenetics as well, you only get the complete picture when looking at both sexes.

I have a nagging suspicion that this is a surviving trace of the age-old sexist assumption that the male is the "normal" specimen of our species, while women are deviations of the norm. To be admired in countless textbooks where the male anatomy is depicted and explained first, and the female is then described in terms of how it deviates from the male.

Source: SpektrumDirekt

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