Computational Biologist Melissa Wilson on Sex Chromosomes, Gila Monsters, and Career Advice

Dr. Melissa Wilson. Credit: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang. The X and Y chromosomes, also known as sex chromosomes, differ greatly from each other. But in two regions, they are practically identical, said Melissa Wilson , assistant professor of genomics, evolution, and bioinformatics at Arizona State University. “We’re interested in studying how the process of evolution shaped the X and the Y chromosome in gene content and expression and how that subsequently affects literally everything else that comes with being a human,” she said at the April 10 NIGMS Director’s Early-Career Investigator (ECI) Lecture at NIH. In humans, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. The first 22 pairs look the same in both males and females. The last pair, the sex chromosomes, differ. Typically, females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. “I say ‘typically’ because I don’t know which one of us is normal, and I don’t like saying something is normal,” she said. “Variations in the sex chromosomes can be pretty typical.” Historically, most clinical research was conducted in men, she noted. “We’re finding out that treatments designed for men don’t work so well in women.” There is, however, a massive sex difference. The sex chromosomes have been evolving over the past 200 million years, she explained. At first, the chromosomes we...
Source: Biomedical Beat Blog - National Institute of General Medical Sciences - Category: Research Authors: Tags: Being a Scientist Genes Chromosomes Cool Creatures DNA Evolution Evolutionary Biology Genomics Source Type: blogs

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