Daddy’s genes determine whether it’s a boy or girl
There was a time when preference for male offspring was very strong. A man started a family in order to produce an heir, an offspring to carry on the family name. Although this has since changed in most parts of the world, there are still cultures where gender preference (hence gender selection) is still practiced. The woman was almost invariably blamed for giving birth to the wrong gender. Failure to produce an heir used to result in the mother being disgraced and/or divorced.
The science of genetics has brought about woman’s vindication on the gender issue. It is now known that sperm determines the gender of the embryo depending whether it contains an X or a Y chromosome.
This latest research at the Newscastle University in the UK puts even more responsibility on the father – whether a child is a boy or a girl depends on the father’s genes.
It seems that the tendency to produce sons or daughters is inherited by men from their parents. Thus, a man who has many sisters is more likely to produce a daughter while a man who has many brothers is more likely to produce sons. The results are based on data of 927 North American and European family trees going as far back to 1600 and involving over half a million members of these families.
The results of this latest genetic research explain the following:
- why there is almost a 1 to 1 ratio of males to females in our population
- why more baby boys were born after the World Wars
Several posts on baby gender issues have been tackled here at BOL. Please click to see previous posts.