Illustration for article titled This Furball Could Save Your Balls

Could this fuzzy little guy be the last hope for manhood? The Alai vole mole has made an evolutionary adaptation that could save human males from extinction, or what scientists call the obsolescence of the Y chromosome.


One scientist calculates the human Y chromosome will be extinct within 125,000 years if current trends continue. That's an eyeblink in evolutionary terms. Already, the Y chromosome is filled with more junk DNA than other chromosomes, because it passes from father to son without any input from the mother. Decreasing sperm counts mean that boys are more likely to receive a damaged copy.

So how can our macho little vole from Kyrgyzstan help? Because he's lost his Y chromosome already, and he somehow transferred the genetic information that confers maleness to another chromosome. So it could be possible to transfer the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome to another gene in humans as well. [London Times]


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