Sex Change Without the Operation


I’ve seen many other blogs cover this new innovative study, but my friend sent me this via Popsci.com. My favorite line:

“Apparently men and women are not that different after all. In fact, the sexes are so similar that women have to fight their entire lives just to remain women — at least on the genetic level.” – Rebecca Boyle

As reported through Boyle’s article, scientists removed a female-promoting gene in female mice. When this particular gene was suppressed, researchers noticed very profound developments of masculine traits in these female mice. They produced 100 times more testosterone as male mice. It was also discovered that the ovaries turned into testes.

Boyle touched upon an otherwise mindblowing theory: The research suggests that womanhood is an ongoing process and could also legitimize the desire for transsexual people to undergo gender-reassignment surgery.

What is missing from this study is if a male-producing gene could be suppressed within male mice. If this is the case, then the way we understand gender now – as an identifiable, concrete, division of individuals of the same species – evaporates to conceive of a looser, more generalized perspective of the opposite sex. No longer are we opposites, but merely two genes that can change sexes as easily as underwear. Men and women become interchangeable.

Another scenario is if gene-suppression isn’t capable in male mice. If this is so, then are we all genetically men? Even now, as I type this, I stroke the few robust strands of hair that grow from my chin. Just yesterday I had to remove a few more hairs from my chest. Not pretty, but not uncanny either. Seems as though the boy-version of me is becoming a man.

Part of me suspected that this study of the female-suppressing gene was made public so soon as if to make a point as so many gender-specific studies had before it – Women do this more than men, men are more so-and-so than women. In this case, however, the study could be interpreted as a way to make women seem unnecessary to the human race. Like flicking a switch, we could turn the woman gene off and rid ourselves of those feminine annoyances. It sounds like a really bad B-movie from the 80s: Guy hates girl’s nagging so he presses a button, transforms her into Pauly Shore, and together they go on wild adventures. Sounds like a gnarly adventure, dude!

However, if this research does apply to humans, then the value of the female species genetically goes up. Another interpretation of this research could suggest that men are genetically flawed. Women are necessary for prolonging the species on a genetic level. And it makes sense that we possess the power to change, because it means that we can continue to produce without men. We just make our girlfriend into a boyfriend. And then we make a baby. Ha!

Who knows if any of this applies to humans. But, the mind reels with Science Fiction possibilities!

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    • Daisy Azuras
    • December 16th, 2009

    My mind is officially blown!

    • Ryan
    • January 22nd, 2010

    Have you read about testicular feminism? It is almost the reverse of what you are discussing but happens in real life not just in tests. The persons is born with male genetics but their cells only except female genes.

    Actually there is a significant number of female models/actresses that are genetically male. (people you know and see on television) Due to this condition the “women” tend to be more feminine than the average female because the average females body excepts around 20% testosterone whereas they except none. They tend to be tall with big breast but have no female reproductive organs.

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