The Y sequence shows that men and women differ as much in their
genetic makeup as do, say, human and chimpanzee males.
DAVID C. PAGE: THE Y FILES
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An English literature student called up David C. Page a few years ago and told him she was thinking of doing a thesis that would rebut feminist criticism and bring back a measure of respectability to him and his work. "I didn't know I was in need of rehabilitation," Page remarks one late September afternoon in his fourth-floor corner office at the Whitehead Institute on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. He retells the incident while resting his "Save the Males" coffee cup on a circular conference table.
Ever since he picked up and inspected a random piece of DNA in 1979 as a young researcher and later learned that the glob contained a piece of the Y chromosome, Page has devoted much of his working life to the study of the genetic package that confers maleness. The very idea of investigating the Y chromosome offends those feminists who believe that it serves as nothing more than a subterfuge to promulgate an inherent male bias in biology. And, in Page's view, some reputable scientists have even pandered to these sentiments by writing books and papers that predict the extinction of men--or the Y's disappearance.
This article was originally published with the title Geographer of the Male Genome.