For Class on 11/5

chromosome-2_slide-05051b12834ec0e9e37beba0b96589903e2290c1-s4-c85For Wednesday, please do the following:

  • Read Biology chapter 12 and sections & 13.1 – 2
  • Go over the SlideShare slides on heredity to make sure you are familiar with all the key terms
  • Listen to or read “With Men’s Y Chromosome, Size Really May Not Matter”: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/28/334490208/with-mens-y-chromosome-size-really-may-not-matter

    And be ready to discuss these questions in class (1) What biological mechanism or process that we’ve discussed could be a means for the migration of genes in the Y chromosome to other genes mentioned in this news story? (2) Based on what you know about the Central Dogma, how do genes in the Y chromosome accomplish their functions/roles throughout the body?

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3 thoughts on “For Class on 11/5”

  1. First off, sorry this is long and to be clear my intent is friendly.

    It’s probably pretty hard to find articles that don’t conflate sex and gender, and I know talking about either gets complicated very quickly. But conflating the two does erase intersex and transgender people from these type of discussions and focuses it on cisgender(non-transgender) people only. For example, “Basic biology has it that girls are girls because they have two X chromosomes — the things inside cells that carry our genes. Boys are boys because they have one X and one Y. ” I know this is an NPR article but this sentence relies on some large assumptions. It’s implied that people are either XX or XY, directly stated that the sex chromosomes match gender, and implied that there are two genders when throughout human history there have been many recognized non-binary genders. Transgender and intersex people are often misunderstood, sidelined, or told they don’t exist when these and related assumptions get out of hand. That’s why I personally try to make sure I always say things like “people with prostates” or “males” instead of “men” when what I am discussing is actually specific to people with a specific body part. I still mess up sometimes and I’m more interested in making sure people are aware that there is a difference than in policing their language.

    It’s actually not important to get at the root of what gender is, where it comes from or even sex differences to make the point that sex and gender and neither simple nor equivalent. I’m not sure what an appropriate way of bringing this up would be but it seems like a good time considering that Lesley University likes to say it thinks diversity is important (not meant to be a pointed comment), and that this biology course has a direct impact on scientific literacy. We have touched on social issues lightly in various class discussions already and it appears that we will continue to do so. Do you think there is a point in class when it would make sense to address this briefly?

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    1. You bring up a great set of points, Charlie. We’ll touch upon this in class today or Monday. The new story and other materials are an oversimplification (likely to keep the new story short and focused on Biology at a cellular/molecular level), as we’ll see, and NPR actually has a number of other news stories that discuss gender in more thorough perspectives. We haven’t gotten there yet, but typically in Bio classes, we will refer to biological sex (which focuses on physical phenotype) as opposed to using the terms gender or sex unqualified.

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