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Sex ItselfThe Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome$
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Sarah S. Richardson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226084688

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226084718.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 March 2021

The Odd Chromosomes

The Odd Chromosomes

(p.23) Chapter 2 The Odd Chromosomes
Sex Itself

Sarah S. Richardson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the discovery of the sex chromosomes by Nettie Stevens and Edmund Wilson and shows how scientists struggled to understand the significance of these “odd chromosomes” to sex. The leading early theories of chromosomal determination of sex assumed a model of sex determination that was labile, open to many influences, and nondeterminate. As this chapter shows, early cytogeneticists sought to fit the newly found chromosomes into preexisting theories of sex determination and resisted any notion that “maleness” and “femaleness” were discrete genetic characters represented by the X and Y chromosomes.

Keywords:   Nettie M. Stevens, Edmund B. Wilson, Metabolic theory of sex, Sex determination, Cytogenetics

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