New Research on a Genetic Basis to Sex/Gender

Scientists have identified the gene that keeps females female. An international team found that the action of a single gene is all that stops females from developing male physical traits, including testes and facial hair.

When this gene was artificially “switched off” in adult female mice their ovaries began to turn into testes and they started to produce a level of testosterone found in healthy male mice.

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2 Responses to “New Research on a Genetic Basis to Sex/Gender”

  1. Marlene Kvitrud says:

    This article describes research, that was published in the journal Cell on Dec. 11th, that suggests gender could be easier to manipulate. The article specifically mentions transsexuals and sees the discovery of a gender gene as positive. Not only could this gene discovery improve treatments for babies who are born with a mixed gender, but “researchers say it could dramatically improve clinicians’ ability to change a person’s gender.” The article suggests that the gene discovery and continuing research could revolutionize gender reassignment therapy. However, the article admits we are a long way off from applying therapy based on this gender gene.

    At the same time, the article does not mention the societal influence of such a gene. Many comments on the article talk about how society still has to catch up to the science, or in other words, many people do not accept transsexuals. For example, the Times Online published an article on November 5th, 2009 called “Evangelical outrage over play featuring transsexual Jesus.” That article talks about “a controversial play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual woman” and interviews the writer Jo Clifford, formally the playwright John Clifford. The play, acted by Ms. Clifford in the only role, was performed in Glasgow, Scotland and had about 300 protesters on the opening night. The playwright says she “wrote the piece in an attempt to create greater understanding of transgendered people like herself.” Through covering the negative response of the play “Jesus, Queen of Heaven,” the Times Online shows that everyone is not accepting of transsexuals. Although I find the article about the gene discovery to be informative and interesting, I am disappointed that it does not talk more about the societal problems transsexuals and their allies encounter.

  2. Marlene Kvitrud says:

    Here is the link for the article I mention: