Biology Do What It Do TROY ANDERSON Biology is an odd beast; it’s been doing some hectic shit for untold numbers of years. In our modern day, we have a pretty firm handle on what it’s up to a lot of the time. For the most part, it behaves itself, demonstrates patterns, does what it knows how to do. However, this week we’ll be having a look at two instances where biology has said “fuck it”, thrown it all in and just done some really out of the gate shit. Subsequently, science has had to pop its head in and say, “hold on you rascal, what have ya gotten into this time?” THE NEFARIOUS KLINEFELTER SYNDROME
I heard about a high school in the US teaching students that chromosomes exist on a continuum and I cracked up. Meanwhile, science tells us and has told us for a good old while, that they are discreet and influence biological sex in a big way. Males have an X and a Y chromosome and females two X chromosomes. But what happens when our wild beast biology decides to mix it up a bit and whack another chromosome on there? It is also a possibility as a male to have an additional X chromosome, and this is where all kinds of black magic happen. The fabled XXY chromosome makeup is estimated to affect between 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 infants. This is a lot more than you might expect; however, it is speculated that many of the symptoms are overlooked or overlap with other conditions. The going rate for actual diagnosis of Klinefelter syndrome is about 1 in 50,000 infants exhibiting some more extreme features. So what the fuck is it all about? The most prominent feature of this syndrome is a reduction in the size of the testes, and this produces a gang of 18
effects. This interferes with their function and lowers the amount of testosterone. Lowered testosterone often leads to very sparse body and facial hair, delayed or incomplete puberty and gynecomastia (look it up, ya dumb cunt). However, the most interesting feature that can occur is an extended urethral opening or an opening part way along the penis. In Layman’s terms, a vagina-shaped penis hole or a penis hole part way along the dick shaft. COMPLETE ANDROGEN INSENSITIVITY
Androgen is a male sex hormone responsible for a multitude of things during fetal development and puberty. This hormone exists in both males and females, but this condition, in particular, is unique to genetic males. This means that the body is unable to respond to these hormones which cause some gnarly shit to go on. The frequency of this condition is a lot rarer than the previous, lying around the 2 to 5 in 100,000 of male infants. The Belgian model Hanne Gaby Odiele has recently revealed that she has this condition, causing it to hit the mainstream a bit more. Someone who is completely androgen insensitive will have external female genitalia and female traits of appearance. They will also likely identify as a girl/ woman growing up. The key difference between them and other females, however, is that they are infertile. This is due to a complete lack of a uterus. Instead, people with this condition have undescended testes, which makes them biologically male. Mind blown. These are usually removed early on however because they have a high chance of becoming cancerous. Anyway, now ya know.