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Gender Matters

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  • Genetic Markers
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


,c d;* Yale: Gender Matters (September 17, 2001) 4Je September 21, 2001 The only perspective I can credibly bring to the statement Gender Matters i s that of a scientist. I was trained as a biochemist here at Yale in the 1950’s. But, labels don’t matter very much to biologists any more and, depending on the circumstances, I identify myself variably as biochemist, or molecular biologist, or geneticist. Modern biologists, whether concerned with evolution, heredity, molecular structure, or disease, define their work by the questions they ask. Once a question is shaped, they turn to whatever methods are needed to approach an answer. If subdiscipline doesn’t matter very much in biology these days, does gender? In one sense, it is a simplistic question whose answer is of course ‘yes’. Gender, or that sense of the word that is associated with biological sex, is determined by the particular set of chromosomes a great deal individual, as here at Yale. and genes an individual animal inherits. This matters o the biology, health, and behavior of the resulting has been demonstrated by Sally Shawitz in her work / Plants, with some exceptions, have taken a different SG q )cc / d3hat- UlbVf(5 \ dc &jlu7 course; a single plant generates both male and female germ cells kRnkk 4 91G 7 1,C‘ y R fq t f 2 (and some organisms, animals do the same). Many different kinds of single cell like bacteria, manage very well without any sex at all although they can, when the opportunity presents itself, incorporate and use genes from another cell ... a fact that was established here at / 3 h 3 , 1 * L 4 - i /Jeyldj Yale by Lederberg and Tatum half a century ago. 2 IndfhroarnC - However, the relation of gender to sex is a o t w \ t o p i c l t o d a y ; L . q n n e c b w a q . s gender u matter when a biologist determines what question to ask. k k e e e i d , that gender -6 lay a role in experimental or

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