Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome

Sex Itself The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome Human genomes are percent identical with one prominent exception Instead of a matching pair of X chromosomes men carry a single X coupled with a tiny chromosome called the Y Tracking the emerge

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  • Title: Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome
  • Author: Sarah S. Richardson
  • ISBN: 9780226084688
  • Page: 405
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Human genomes are 99.9 percent identical with one prominent exception Instead of a matching pair of X chromosomes, men carry a single X, coupled with a tiny chromosome called the Y Tracking the emergence of a new and distinctive way of thinking about sex represented by the unalterable, simple, and visually compelling binary of the X and Y chromosomes, Sex Itself examinesHuman genomes are 99.9 percent identical with one prominent exception Instead of a matching pair of X chromosomes, men carry a single X, coupled with a tiny chromosome called the Y Tracking the emergence of a new and distinctive way of thinking about sex represented by the unalterable, simple, and visually compelling binary of the X and Y chromosomes, Sex Itself examines the interaction between cultural gender norms and genetic theories of sex from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, postgenomic age Using methods from history, philosophy, and gender studies of science, Sarah S Richardson uncovers how gender has helped to shape the research practices, questions asked, theories and models, and descriptive language used in sex chromosome research From the earliest theories of chromosomal sex determination, to the mid century hypothesis of the aggressive XYY supermale, to the debate about Y chromosome degeneration, to the recent claim that male and female genomes are different than those of humans and chimpanzees, Richardson shows how cultural gender conceptions influence the genetic science of sex Richardson shows how sexual science of the past continues to resonate, in ways both subtle and explicit, in contemporary research on the genetics of sex and gender With the completion of the Human Genome Project, genes and chromosomes are moving to the center of the biology of sex Sex Itself offers a compelling argument for the importance of ongoing critical dialogue on how cultural conceptions of gender operate within the science of sex.

    One thought on “Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome”

    1. Wow. I'm really glad I read this book even though it took me a while because it is DENSE. It's very well-written, but it does get extremely technical at certain points. Richardson quotes directly from primary literature on genomic research throughout the book, and the book contains a fair amount of scientific jargon as well. For the most part, she goes through the technical details in a very readable way – I particularly like the way she points out the differences in molecular genetics and com [...]

    2. A thick history of the complex relationship between ideology and science in terms of gender/sex/biology. Should probably be on the shelves of anyone interested in gender studies, women's studies, genetics, or science & technology studies. The case studies presented in this book highlight how society and science interact to produce shifting conceptions of what biological "sex" is. I've added it to my syllabus at the grad level and will be incorporating into my undergrad readings. This book sh [...]

    3. The science in this book and the way it is laid out make this a tough read at times. But the underlying story of how we know and what we know about the way sex is expressed genetically is important. The shorthand we create, that X and Y chromosomes are what determine sex/gender, is incomplete enough to be useless, for the most part. Having a better understanding of X and Y and what they are and are not is useful for a better understanding of our fellow human beings.

    4. Not what I expected it to be - this book is rather about what sex is not : with many specific examples it basically shows a deeper overview of how gender and sex biases have unfortunately shaped the history of sex research. That's it, but don't get me wrong, the author does this excellently, but the reader may expect quite a different book: the back cover blurb synopsis is not itself misleading, yet when you really show what sex is not and how its research was biased, I think you have to show me [...]

    5. Terrific history of the genomics of sex. Not gender. Not sexual preference. Sex. Ms Robinson illustrates how post-feminist thinking informs science when the topics are freighted with cultural norms, and how bad science results when post-feminist thinking is ignored. There must be a strong connection between ideas she develops here and race, another topic of great interest to her.Prepare to learn that much of what you know (on this subject) just ain't so. Highly recommended, but not for everyone, [...]

    6. This book really begs a better review than I am capable of giving it. Intended for an academic audience, it is not an easy read without a background in genetics classes over and above highschool. That said, it ought to be a must read, dictionary in hand, for anyone interested in what makes us male or female or more like, what does not. Sex is far more complicated than X and Y chromosomes. It is NOT binary. Once you get past the chromosomes and gonads, it is pretty much a continuum. The descripti [...]

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