Say What?

I know, I’m no scientist.  It’s been a long time since I sat through a biology class.  So this article caught my attention.  Three sexes?  What does that mean?

I read the article the one above was referencing and it provided no further elaboration of this.  It does, however, mention the discover of one species of nematode with three sexes more prominently/earlier in the press release than the article above.  I’m assuming what they’re referring to is this species has three chromosomal sexes – not just the XY of male or XX of female.  According to this site, there can be chromosomal variations on these two typical genetic sexes.  This site does a better job of a more in-depth explanation of what variations in chromosomal sex means.

What the original articles don’t clarify is whether or not all the studied samples of this one species of nematode have three sexes, or they happened to notice it in one of the samples.  Since some of the variations on XY or XX chromosomal sexes mentioned in the Quora article lead to diminished physical, intellectual, or reproductive capabilities, are these similar situations in other species?

Lots of questions without many good answers yet, which makes it all the more curious that the three-sexes issue takes top billing in the headlines.  At the very least, it says something about what catches people’s eyes these days.  I’m sure a headline heralding Eight New Nematode Species Discovered! wouldn’t garner much attention!

 

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