Not the End of Males, Damnit

So they managed to make a mouse out’ve mouse eggs, by tricking an immature mouse egg into thinking that maybe its a sperm by turning off the trigger gene that keeps it from actin’ all sperm-like. (This is obviously playing fast and loose with the details, but bear with me a moment.)

This is a neat trick. It’s cool. That was some serious tinkering, and I’m impressed that they got it to work. It’s not exactly spontaneous parthogenesis, but it’s probably the best you’re gonna coax out of a mammal. It took some effort.

And immediately, everybody goes to “OH MY GOD! Men will be obsolete!” Even the article is reported in that vein, and ends by reassuring the readers that no, the success rate is so low that men won’t be obsolete for awhile yet.

This makes Ursula roll her eyes wildly, and get an urge to gnaw on the drywall. I mean, good lord. How fragile does the media think the male ego is, that they have to devote half the page to proclaiming “But men are special too!” presumably to prevent droves of men leaping off bridges now that their sperm is superfluous and they have no further worth to the world?

It’s like Spike TV. I’m not a guy, but if I was, I’d be mildly offended that I was supposed to be that inane.

There are all sorts of reasonable and interesting tacts one could take for the uses of this research, assuming they got the success rate up there–treatments for infertile couples, conservation of species light on the males, to say nothing of lesbian couples. Why leap immediately to getting rid of men? Sensationalism is fine and good in its place, but on science reporting, I expect a little more restraint. Really. (I don’t usually get it, mind you, but I continue to expect it.)

You’d think there were people out there who’s sole claim to fame was their ability to knock up the other sex or something…

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