Stories/Jokes: Battle of the Sexes

Genetically Speaking

Courtesy of David R.



The alleged insensitivity of men has been a thorn in the side of women for many, many years. It has manifested itself in a number of ways, including the seeming inability of the male to lower the toilet seat following vertical urination. We embarked on a quest to identify the INS gene, which we speculated would be a Y-chromosome-encoded DNA binding protein that could selectively turn on a number of other behavior-modifying genes.


A cosmid library of partially digested, flow sorted Y chromosomes was made and inserted in the pSTUD vector. pSTUD is a modified phage that can replicate efficiently in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells but cannot commit to any one cell. It is often found absent by cells which awake in the morning to find themselves alone; only the transferred DNA is left behind.

A cDNA library was constructed using mRNA from the brains of selected individuals. These individuals were screened on the basis of chest hair ratios (exposed vs. covered), visible mousse levels, and the ability to walk up to strange women in establishments of weekly mating rituals (bars) and say "Hey, baby, come here often?" cDNAs were cloned into the pBABE vector which is currently thought to promiscuously ligate to any DNA it can get its sticky ends near.


Selected DNA probes were hybridized with cosmids to isolate expressed Y genes. pBABE 36-24-35 hybridized at pSTUD 555-1042 and while other BABEs hybridized with a few other STUDs, these two seemed to have the strongest reaction.

pSTUD 555-1042 was subcloned into the pBRA series vector with gives extra support for sequencing and footprinting. pBRA-2, which covered the upstream regulatory sequences, showed that 555-1042 not only had a TATA box, but an additional 5' bodacious TATA box, found to be tremendously rich in both T and A. The coding sequence predicted a protein that had both zinc fingers and leucine zippers. Crystallography showed that the zinc fingers could interact with this and other leucine zippers, but the result of these interactions depended on the presence of XX cells.

Further evidence that this gene controlled "male-type" behavior followed transfection of pBABE 36-24-35 as a probe. Bands appeared in human and simian DNA but were not seen in avian or porcine lanes. This latter observation proves once and for all that men are NOT pigs.


We have isolated a y-chromosome encoded protein that appears to control a number of male-specific behaviors. We hope to construct INS mutants that will not activate the normal panel of *INS*-controlled genes. Gene therapy with these mutants could effectively improve male sensitivity and maybe, just maybe, stop women from whining all the time.


Upon further analysis, we were forced to conclude that INS encoded intelligence, although our observations regarding the specificity of this gene to the Y-chromosome are unaltered.

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