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Male Extinction

Date: 05-02-04
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Bryan Sykes

Professor of Human Genetics, Bryan Sykes, discussed his alarming forecast that male extinction is inevitable, due to the rapidly decaying Y chromosome. He estimated that this would occur within 5,000 generations or 125,000 to 150,000 years from now, and that male infertility (currently at around 7%) will continue to rise over time.

The problem, he explained, stems from the fact that the Y chromosome doesn't exchange DNA like other chromosomes and is thus prone to higher level of mutations. Additionally, Sykes posited a virtual battle of the sexes in which men's' Y chromosomes are locked in a "deeply imbedded war" with the mitochondrial DNA of females, each seeking to exclusively reproduce themselves at the expense of the other.He hypothesized that male homosexuality could be a kind of "genetic altruism," that furthers the agenda of the mitochondrial DNA.

The Y chromosome's weakening might be arrested by using genetic manipulation to remove certain genes, suggested Sykes. Cloning however "will never work in the long term," he said, because the clones would be too susceptible to being wiped out by pathogens, whereas genetic variation ensures that at least some people will survive epidemics that come our way.

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