Science: Sexy Genes

Rewriting the laws of heredity

Scientists have long believed that at the genetic level, men and women are pretty much the same. According to textbooks, only two of the 46 gene-carrying chromosomes in a human cell -- a pair known as the sex chromosomes -- are noticeably different in males and females. But at a genetics seminar last week at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Me., this conventional wisdom took a beating. Participants cited evidence that there may be many more differences in male and female genes than previously thought. That revelation challenges assumptions about heredity held for more than a century.

Human chromosomes come in...

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