Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why practice doesn't necessarily always make perfect.

I recently discovered New York Public Radio's Radio Lab. Last week, while trying to catch up on all the episodes I'd missed, I heard (what was to me) an absolutely amazing fact.

But first (and the reason you need to know this will become apparent), I want to tell you that I earned a solid A in both Biology and Bio Lab. I was able to do so by virtue of the world's most primo set of flash cards--a full 8 1/2 inch stack of the most comprehensive cards ever compiled for Kirkpatrick's Biology course. I spent at least as much time during the semester creating these cards as I did studying them. This stack of cards was so perfect, in fact, that I was able to dine out on the price they fetched for the entirety of the following semester. For all I know, they are still in circulation. As I said, they were guaranteed grade-A flash cards.

The problem with flash cards, though, is that the information comes in, takes a look around, sees that there's nobody else there worth being seen with, and then vamooses. No sign that it's ever even been there--no forgotten pair of sunglasses, no wet ring on the coffee table, no lipstick-stained cigarette butt in the ashtray. Pooft. So, virtually every bit of information I memorized for that class is long gone. You'd never even know I had taken a biology course, much less aced it. Which explains how I was able to be amazed by a fact I had apparently already learned.

Did you know that every man passes on to his male child an exact copy of his Y chromosome? That child then passes on the exact copy to his male child, and so on. So that, over the course of a thousand years, that same Y chromosome gets passed down through the generations, and unless a mutation occurs, all the male descendants possess an exact copy of Big Daddy's original Y chromosome?

This totally and completely blows my mind. I can't even get my hair to do the same thing two days in a row. And as for my progeny--most of the time she's trying to figure out which shopping mall I stole her from.

So way to go, men. Way to pass down your essence through the centuries. Now if I could just have a program please, so I can tell which of you are part of the same bloodline.

I think I may have finally figured out why I keep marrying the same men, over and over again.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jane, do you suppose this says anything about why men all think alike? With the exception of a very few highly evolved species who must have mutated from the original.

fjohn said...

Of course it is the mitochondrial dna that you get from your mom that they track ancestry with.