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"Female" Chromosome May Play Key Role in Male Fertility, Washington University in St. Louis Study


7/22/2013 6:15:40 AM

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Painstaking new analysis of the genetic sequence of the X chromosome -- long perceived as the "female" counterpart to the male-associated Y chromosome -- reveals that large portions of the X have evolved to play a specialized role in sperm production. This surprising finding, reported by Whitehead Institute scientists in a paper published online this week in the journal Nature Genetics, is paired with another unexpected outcome: despite its reputation as the most stable chromosome of the genome, the X has actually been undergoing relatively swift change. Taken together, these results suggest that it's time to reexamine the biological and medical importance of the X chromosome.

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