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Not the End of Males, Damnit


So they managed to make a mouse out've mouse eggs, by tricking an immature mouse egg into thinking that maybe its a sperm by turning off the trigger gene that keeps it from actin' all sperm-like. (This is obviously playing fast and loose with the details, but bear with me a moment.)

This is a neat trick. It's cool. That was some serious tinkering, and I'm impressed that they got it to work. It's not exactly spontaneous parthogenesis, but it's probably the best you're gonna coax out of a mammal. It took some effort.

And immediately, everybody goes to "OH MY GOD! Men will be obsolete!" Even the article is reported in that vein, and ends by reassuring the readers that no, the success rate is so low that men won't be obsolete for awhile yet.

This makes Ursula roll her eyes wildly, and get an urge to gnaw on the drywall. I mean, good lord. How fragile does the media think the male ego is, that they have to devote half the page to proclaiming "But men are special too!" presumably to prevent droves of men leaping off bridges now that their sperm is superfluous and they have no further worth to the world?

It's like Spike TV. I'm not a guy, but if I was, I'd be mildly offended that I was supposed to be that inane.

There are all sorts of reasonable and interesting tacts one could take for the uses of this research, assuming they got the success rate up there--treatments for infertile couples, conservation of species light on the males, to say nothing of lesbian couples. Why leap immediately to getting rid of men? Sensationalism is fine and good in its place, but on science reporting, I expect a little more restraint. Really. (I don't usually get it, mind you, but I continue to expect it.)

You'd think there were people out there who's sole claim to fame was their ability to knock up the other sex or something...

Didn't read your article, but heard a report on NPR last night. Basically, it'll be a LONG time before this can be used on humans, if ever, since the mice were bred with a missing genome in order for this to work anyway.

Everyone pat the nearest male on the head and tell him it will be all right. :P

Uh, that last sentence of yours, I think you just did what Urs was protesting against.

I wonder if it's a reflexive thing these days.

They can make a mouse baby out of mouse-eggs, eh? Spiffy! I made a mouse baby out of a dead hamster and some toothpicks once! Well, okay...I had to use some mustard, too. It was tasty!


Spontaneous parthenogenesis has been recorded in animals before. Cattle. Tho it was never controlled.

I liked the coverage on the CBC. They said that this isn't about making males obsolete, or even trying to DO anything specific for anyone. It was a basic embryology study into genetic imprinting. You get two copies of all your genes, but some from your mom are turned on and some off, and then same from your dad. They want to find out what genes are turned on and off and how, which is why they did this study.

But that's the news. Go for the sensational and base angles because that grabs people's attention.

And yes, Spike TV does sort of annoy me in that respect. Then again, I seem to have this strange attraction to Most Extreme Elimination.... :)

Most Extreme Elimination is damn entertaining. And sort of like a train wreck in that you can't pull your eyes away from it.

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Bwhaha! :-D

Thanks for the GoD! (Giggle of the Day :-)

Magical Zzyzxian

Agreed. Didn't have to put it so bluntly, but I agree wholeheartedly. XDD

That's a pretty damned cool experiment. I see what you mean about the article, though -- the implication is that men have no purpose other than to contribute sperm and oh my god now they're useless!!! Incredibly stupid. That's just weak writing, that's all. They needed a hook for the story, and they used the most obvious and simplistic one.

Oh, and by the way:
It's like Spike TV. I'm not a guy, but if I was, I'd be mildly offended that I was supposed to be that inane.

Turn on Lifetime, then. The equivalent (much older) female inanity. ;)

Thanks Ursula, that was great.

We better not tell him. My vote in the death pool isn't for a coupla years yet.

I remember hearing once on NPR that there's enough semen in liquid nitrogen sitting in sperm banks around the world to impregnate the next five generations of women. If that's true, then we're already obsolete, and have been for some time. But still we persist; souping up our cars, arguing over football, drinking beer, and belching. God love us.

CNN.com has a slightly better spun article, which says, up front, that this isn't going to eliminate males for mammalian reproduction and that one of the moms was a genetic mutant made to act like a male in terms of reproductive contribution.


I'm trying to get a hold of that actual Nature article, but the website doesn't seem to be loading from my work computer.

Hey, I like SpikeTV!

(sorry, couldn't help myself. *grins*)

You'd think there were people out there who's sole claim to fame was their ability to knock up the other sex or something...

Ah, you've met my son-in-law.

She's also met the father of my sister's child. ;)

Mmmmmm... drywall...

I'm hungry now.

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