Knowledge gap on the origin of sex

May 26, 2017, Lund University
Human chromosomes during metaphase. Credit: Steffen Dietzel/Wikipedia

There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough about the evolution of sex chromosomes to understand how males and females emerge.

Greater focus on ecological aspects would increase this knowledge, according to at Lund University, who have reviewed a lot of the research conducted in this field in the last 100 years.

Female and male bodies work differently, even though they have the same genome. One example is reproduction.

"There is a form of genetic conflict between the sexes - a conflict in the genome itself - which we know little about", says professor Bengt Hansson at Lund University.

Together with senior lecturer Jessica Abbott and doctoral student Anna Nordén, he has read more than 100 scientific articles and papers describing the evolution of sex and the genome. Together, they have identified two tracks that have each dominated the research since the late 19th century: empirical studies and various theories.

The review shows that the significance of ecology has not been sufficiently noted. Therefore, the biologists in Lund call for more research on how the living environment of a affects the development and evolution of sex chromosomes. This could include factors such as access to food, age variations within a population or the consequences for sex chromosomes when populations that have lived separately meet and mix.

"Additional approaches in research will probably lead to a much more detailed understanding of the development of sex chromosomes and, in turn, of how females and males evolve", says Jessica Abbott.

The research can lead to concrete benefits. One example is releasing sterile males in populations of , as an attempt to limit the number of mosquitoes in certain areas.

Drugs that target women or men specifically are another hot research field. According to the biologists at Lund University, this is also an area that requires more knowledge on the of sex chromosomes.

Explore further: What egg-producing housefly males can tell us about the evolution of sex determination

More information: Jessica K. Abbott et al, Sex chromosome evolution: historical insights and future perspectives, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2806

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7 comments

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FredJose
1.7 / 5 (6) May 26, 2017
There is only a large gap if one ignores the plain and simple words - "male and female He created them"

Without those words, there is no explanation for the existence of sex. No amount of rife speculation will deliver a rational and completely accepted explanation via the evolutionary paradigm. People will forever wonder since no one can go back into the past and make a recording of it.
michael_frishberg
4.2 / 5 (5) May 26, 2017
No amount of rife speculation will deliver a rational and completely accepted explanation via the evolutionary paradigm.

Scientific inquiry means there is absolutely NO reason to believe this. So the first portion of your post is also invalid.
Bart_A
1 / 5 (3) May 28, 2017
There are so many holes in evolution that we know absolutely nothing about. This is just one of them. A true scientist will look at the explanations that people have come up with, and begin to wonder: Maybe evolution as is supposed today is not a right explanation after all. True scientific inquiry will mandate such thinking.

zz5555
5 / 5 (1) May 28, 2017
There are so many holes in evolution that we know absolutely nothing about. This is just one of them.

This always seems to me to be a silly claim, like the so-called "evolution of the eye" issue. It's fairly trivial to come up with a possible evolutionary pathway for the eye, but difficult to show which is the way (or ways) evolution happened. And I suspect it's the same for sexual reproduction as well. Something like http://cshperspec...154.full gives a possible pathway.
A true scientist will look at the explanations that people have come up with, and begin to wonder: Maybe evolution as is supposed today is not a right explanation after all. True scientific inquiry will mandate such thinking.

Evolution by deus ex machina doesn't seem very scientific. Science requires a great deal more than faith in magic.
Parsec
not rated yet May 28, 2017
Just assuming the answer doesn't actually provide one. The entire purpose of science is to ask questions that can be answered. It is almost always true that the answer to a question generates more questions, but this is the process in which knowledge can be generated. It doesn't invalidate the process as you seem to believe.

And while its true that we can never go back and look at what happened to absolutely confirm any answers are correct, that isn't really the purpose of scientific inquiry. That is to say, absolute confirmation. The purpose is to generate knowledge that continues to become more and more likely to be as accurate as possible.
Parsec
not rated yet May 28, 2017
Also claiming that just because we cannot nail down every single detail means we do not know anything is not a logical or reasonable argument. Just because you have not memorized every single word in the bible doesn't mean you know absolutely nothing about Christianity.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet May 28, 2017
There are so many holes in evolution
@barf @fredjoser
then why haven't any of you religious zealots presented equivalent testable repeatable evidence that refutes evolution?

It's not like i haven't presented plenty of studies that support evolution
if it aint true then why has not a single idiot religious nutjob been able to present anything equivalent for a refute?

because your deity is playing coy?

LOL

science advances on evidence, not belief
if belief were the key the x-tians would still be burning witches and attempting exorcism when someone has depression

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