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Thread: what "gender" are asexual organisms?

  1. #1 what "gender" are asexual organisms? 
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    in bisexually reproducing animals the female has xx chromosomes and the male has xy chromosomes. what about asexual organisms? do they have gender chromosomes? (sorry if i am using wrong terminology...not a scientist). if so what do those chromosomes look like (eg. xx or xy)?


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    The XX/XY system is only used in mammals. Birds are the other way around, with the heterogametic sex being the females (ZW) and the homogametic sex being males (ZZ). Asexual organisms don't have sex-specific chromosomes.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Also, in some organisms gender is determined by environmental factors like temperature, time of the year, when they last mated, yatayatayata.

    Or in fruit flies the sex is determined by the ratio of male to female sex chromosomes.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    In humans there are two rounds of sexual determination actually (or at least two). One is determined by the genes on the chromosomes (XX, XY), the other one is environmental.

    Hence XY females, XX males.
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    Sexual dimorphism can be generated in a great many ways as the others have stated. As far as I know the only hard and fast rule the biologists use in labelling gender is that, where "gender" exists, the gender producing motile sex cells (be that passive or active) is typically called male, whereas the gender producing non-motile sex cells is called female. We can also use that terminology within hermaphroditic species such as earthworms and many plant species. They'll produce both "male" and "female" gametes.
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    fascinating...i had no idea there were so many factors involved.

    one of the reasons i ask this question is because of the way human xx and xy chromosomes work. from my understanding chromosomes in human reproduction are supposed to match eachother. the only place where i know they don't is in human males (xy). it looks a lot to me like human males represent a genetic mutation that allows us to reproduce sexually. i wondered if there was something similar in other organisms.

    this is an interesting question to me from a feminist point of view. the judeo-christian creation story states that man was created first and then woman was created for him, from his flesh, to be a helpmeet for him. this (and other reasons) have historically been used as reasons to justify why women were considered to be inferior. i am guessing that biology would not support this idea.

    any thoughts?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlwright
    fascinating...i had no idea there were so many factors involved.

    one of the reasons i ask this question is because of the way human xx and xy chromosomes work. from my understanding chromosomes in human reproduction are supposed to match eachother. the only place where i know they don't is in human males (xy). it looks a lot to me like human males represent a genetic mutation that allows us to reproduce sexually. i wondered if there was something similar in other organisms.

    this is an interesting question to me from a feminist point of view. the judeo-christian creation story states that man was created first and then woman was created for him, from his flesh, to be a helpmeet for him. this (and other reasons) have historically been used as reasons to justify why women were considered to be inferior. i am guessing that biology would not support this idea.

    any thoughts?
    Obviously, there is nothing in biology that would suggest men are overall superior to women. Human men and human women have adapted to different roles, that's all. If you're asking which sex came first, that's hard to say, because that depends on how sex evolved. I think the most well accepted theory at the moment is disruptive selection but I could be wrong about that - anyhow, if this is true, then both sexes emerged together at the same time.

    Developmentally, all mammalian embryos start out on a female track, and then males get diverted to a male track via the activation of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome at about ten days post conception. Females, of course, just continue along.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    If I can remember basic zoology lectures correctly the first sexual reproducing organisms were neither male or female since the gametes are equal in size between both sexes. Hence there 'was' no qualitative difference to them as such.

    I venter to postulate that only later on there was a sexual dimorphism put in place. A secondary event.

    (if we ignore prokaryotes in this story)
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman dickies994's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlwright
    fascinating...i had no idea there were so many factors involved.

    one of the reasons i ask this question is because of the way human xx and xy chromosomes work. from my understanding chromosomes in human reproduction are supposed to match eachother. the only place where i know they don't is in human males (xy). it looks a lot to me like human males represent a genetic mutation that allows us to reproduce sexually. i wondered if there was something similar in other organisms.

    this is an interesting question to me from a feminist point of view. the judeo-christian creation story states that man was created first and then woman was created for him, from his flesh, to be a helpmeet for him. this (and other reasons) have historically been used as reasons to justify why women were considered to be inferior. i am guessing that biology would not support this idea.

    any thoughts?
    Biology does not support that idea if anything since females are xx and males are xy (in humans) that would make females the default human being type and males the genetic variation. Go to church next time and tell them all that women are more kick ass hahahahaha
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