For a long time we have had plenty of strong health-related arguments to support the idea that smoking is hazardous, but some people persist in lighting up regardless.

Now comes a new bit of information for men that might convince even hardcore smokers that there is a price to pay in lighting up – the loss (in men) of the Y chromosome.

So what, you ask? Women don’t have a Y chromosome and they get along just fine with their two X’s.

Indeed they do, but that’s the point, since women tend to live longer than men. Guys, these researchers think smoking away your “Y” may leave you exposed to cancer.

Which, in a weird way, is good news if you remember the following Trail Baboon post from almost exactly a year ago. It’s one of the most popular articles on this site, and it still resonates, especially now that men’s disparaged “Y” seems to finally have some value.

The post comes from marketing whiz Spin Williams, a wheeler-dealer who is always in residence at The Meeting That Never Ends.

I’m not at liberty to say who made the offer, but  we heard from a very well-known genes manufacturer who was shopping around the famous Y chromosome for a possible takeover.


Naturally, we considered it. The Y is a well known brand name in the chromosome industry, making up a significant portion of all the chromosomes out there. It comes in second only to the X chromosome, which is the runaway market leader. In fact, the X is so reliable and effective, it has a 100% market penetration. Some people love the X chromosome so much, they have two! But there is a foothold – around half the population has at least one X and a Y. It was a bit disappointing to us to learn that very few people have two Y chromosomes, and we noted that as a possible marketing goal, should we decide to do the deal.

Doing our due diligence, we discovered that the Y was for sale because its maker has come to the realization that the chromosome is almost worthless, having been shown through scientific studies to contribute very little to any sense of individual well-being or overall usefulness. Most organizations considering a takeover would have walked away at this point, but my experience has shown me that marketing is more powerful than science. As proof, I offer the fact the we still have a tobacco industry! The value of any particular thing is in the eye of the beholder, and there is solid survey information to indicate that most Y chromosome users love and defend it simply because they already have one, and not because of any inherent benefits it may bring to the table.

And there’s a sizable portion of the chromosome-consuming public that doesn’t understand the product and doesn’t know which brand it prefers.

So in spite of the Y chromosome being inferior, we felt certain we could develop a marketing plan that would boost brand loyalty and make the Y seem more fresh and hip than it does today. Whether we would get to a point where X-only consumers might actually feel some envy for those with a Y was hotly debated at the meeting, with one side expressing certainty that such envy was impractical and impossible, and the other group adamant that Y envy pretty much drives all decision making by X’s. It turns out one of the side effects of having a Y is an outsized enthusiasm for the supposed benefits of Y-ness that X’ers don’t generally seem to share.

Similarly, it was the Y-friendly crowd that was all Gung-ho for immediately pulling the trigger on this deal and sorting out the consequences later. The double-X’s in the room were feeling less impulsive, constantly asking ‘How do we monetize this?’, ‘Where’s the benefit?’ and other fun-stifling questions like that.

Because there was no getting around this fundamental conflict, we walked away from the deal. First, though, we made a surprise bid for the X chromosome, thinking a seller in the mood to divest one of His low-performing properties might take the bait on an unexpected left-field offer for the most popular genetic product in the world.

That was a non-starter, but we all had a good laugh over it.

What is your most prized genetic trait?

22 thoughts on “DNA – Y = UH OH”

  1. Morning all – another beautiful day dawning in Jamaica – nice since it’s our last day here – heading home tomorrow.

    I’m assuming that one of my favorite abilities is genetic, since it seems a little rare. I am able to keep four or five books going at one time (CD in the car, book that lives in the car for going to the gym or having to stand in line somewhere, book on the pc at home plus other assorted book that I’m in the middle of). I know only three or four other people who can do this. Most folks can just do one book at a time.


      1. I don’t think so – unless getting into a profession where you are cube-bound except for about two glorious weeks a year when the perks make up for the other weeks is genetic.


    1. s&h and I both do this.

      I always figured it was about never getting any “real” time to read, so having to grab it when I could, and being really disorganized, so never track one book everywhere we go 🙂

      I know the latter is not your situation 😉


  2. Good morning. It seems I might have genes that may lead to a long life. One uncle lived to be 103 and another was 100 years old when he died. I’m in no hurry to check out from this life. If I have inherited the genes that occur in my family for long life, those are at the top of my list as my most prized genes. In spite of everything going on in the world today that is not too wonderful, I do like being alive and want to live as long as I can.


  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Early rising? This morning the sibling texting started at 5:15am. I only got up at 6am. I slept late!

    Hubert Humphreyesque memory for faces and names? Fading with age and sometimes I pretend to forget names just because no one should remember all that.

    Liberal leanings ala Quakers? I moved to the metro Twin Cities out of Iowa so I could find my political people.

    Expansive rear end? As my grandpa said, “You can support a lot of weight with that.” (Thanks Grandpa.)

    High arches in feet? Ouch.

    The best genetic trait available is the “Math Gene” which has taken one family member to employment as an original Big Dog at Google. Of course, I did not get that trait!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The cooking gene from my maternal great grandmother,? Maybe. The famous Boomgaarden temper? Yes. My father’s lumbar scoliosis, mechanical aptitude, and musical ability? Yes. Big bones and anxiety from my mother? Yes. A love of gardening and history? Probably.


  5. I look like all five of my maternal uncles. I do indeed look German, or pasty Northern European. I cannot define any other trait I share with my father (know nothing about his line) or my maternal line, except for disease issues.
    My mother suffered from depression, although she either did not know it or was not willing to admit it. Depression is common on that side. There is no particular amount of arthritis or fibromyalgia. In fact the whole line shows lots of living to comfortable old age. Round bodies like mine are common as well, shall I say they are common in large measure.
    I have two other limitation/pain issues which are commonly inherited. One, Dupuytren’s disease, my father did have, which does seem to be passed from father to son.
    I love the show on PBS “Finding Our Roots.” In that show they seem to like to trace personality traits, but I think they are looking for ancestors to whom they can ascribe those traits. Wonderful geneology and DNA analysis but some other weak science. A study of my roots along the lines of that show would be rather dull. In fact a few branches of my mother’s line have been traced very far back by relatives and are dull reading.


  6. l tend to view “genetic traits” as bogus and modeled behavior and/or parental influence as the explanation for nearly all talents. A kid with actors as parents often becomes an actor. A kid with parents who are highly proficient with technology may grow into a geek. l can only think of one area in which genetics play a big role: physical. A kid who grows to be 7′ tall and practices basketball clearly benefits from DNA.

    At one time, l was a pretty good piano player, but l’ve always believed that this was due to having a mother standing over me demanding that l practice at least two hours a day.


  7. Biologist by training here, so I will stick with CB here and say all the behavioral stuff was ground into me via environment.

    Genes-wise, I am more happy than is probably seemly about the high cheekbones and small feet.

    There is also, it seems, some mathematical hard-wiring in there somewhere, as not all the mathletes in the family have parents who show that ability.


    1. Randomness/probability fascinate me. So in heredity I am more interested in the unexpected traits. I know of no relative with any artistic interests or abilities. So my little bit is an outlier. My daughter’s musical skills are kind of odd in type and that too is mostly an outlier. When daughter was five she woul stand at the piano and pick out tunes. I had one uncle with that same intuitve grasp of muis structure. A cousin has surveyed family about this. Not much other music ability pops up.


  8. my prized genetic trait is iq. both mom and dad had it and passed it on. all the sibs have it . there is one with dyslexia who is alwatys pissed and mean ugly but pretty smart in spite of her exile from humanity.
    my first wife was smart but hypocondriack which she got form her mother. my two kids with her are smart as a whip. second wife is not book smart, the kids with her are smart but have to work at it harder.
    used to have good atheletic ability until all the broken stuff started stiffening up like the docs told me it whould whe i was playing hard at a younger age. kids all have good atheletic ability some great atheletic ability. singing and tanning. singing kids yes no no yes yes. tanning yes no yes no yes. kinda fun. never mind me its what i pass on thats fun to watch. my sons love my beard. my daughter was commenting on how hairy legs are an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My best example of behavior not being genetic is my own three kids. The vital context in which they were reared: 1) poverty (they had to earn to pay for their own wants while l supplied their needs) ; 2) seeing their mom struggle successfully through 7 years of higher education. They knew they never wanted to live impoverished and, from my modeling, they knew how to rise above it – even though l personally haven’t risen very far above it!

    Liked by 1 person

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