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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, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 30 May 2020

A Chromosome for Maleness

A Chromosome for Maleness

(p.81) Chapter 5 A Chromosome for Maleness
Sex Itself

Sarah S. Richardson

University of Chicago Press

Chapters 5 and 6 explore the intellectual origins of the persistent identification of the Y with maleness and the X with femaleness. Chapter 5 focuses on the notorious case of the “XYY supermale syndrome.” The idea that XYY males were aggressive and prone to criminality due to an extra dosage of Y genes flourished in the 1960s and 1970s until large-scale genetic epidemiology studies in the late 1970s disproved any association between the Y chromosome and aggression. This chapter shows how gender conceptions contributed to this classic case of scientific error, which left a lasting mark on fields such as behavioral genetics. The enduring contribution of the scientific characterization of double-Y individuals as bigger, more aggressive, and more sexual males would be to cement and amplify the association between the single Y and maleness.

Keywords:   XYY syndrome, Aggression, Masculinity, Behavioral genetics, Y chromosome

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