David Page

  • Aired:  03/26/12
  •  | Views: 11,169

Dr. David Page, director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, defends the Y chromosome in the face of enumerable challenges and insults to its character. (7:38)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN MIT PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR OF THE WHITEHEAD INSTITUTE FOR

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH.

I'M GOING TO ASK HIM TO MAKE ME A MANIMAL.

PLEASE WELCOME DAVID PAGE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) DR. PAGE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

SIT DOWN THERE.

ALL RIGHT, SIR, AS I SAID YOU'RE THE DIRECTOR OF THE WHITEHEAD INSTITUTE FOR

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH.

WHAT IS BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH?

>> I'M HERE, STEPHEN,

TONIGHT TO DEFEND THE HONOR OF THE Y CHROMOSOME IN THE FACE OF IMPNEUM ERHAL

INSULTS TO ITS CHARACTER AND FUTURE PROSPECTS.

>> Stephen: WHY IS THE Y CHROMOSOME I SHOULD WARN AWE HEAD OF TIME THAT I DO NOT

BELIEVE IN THE SCIENCE OF CHROME SOMS, SO THAT IS EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE.

I PREFER-- THAT YOU PLACE THE WORD SCIENCE WITH GOD AND THE WORD CHROME SOWN

WITH JESUS AND THE WORD OF WITH HOLY SPIRIT.

SO TELL ME ABOUT THE GOD HOLLY SPIRIT AND JESUS.

>> THANK YOU.

SO LET'S TALK ABOUT CHROME SOWN KANSAS CITY-- CHROMOSOMES,

YOU'VE GOT IN EVERY ONE OF YOUR CELL, STEPHEN, YOU HAVE 23 PAIRS OF CHROMOSOMES.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> AND 22 OF THOSE 23 PAIRS ARE ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL.

AND SHARED BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES.

BUT-- .

>> Stephen: SO 22 OF THE 23 PARTS THAT MAKE ME UP LIKE MY DESIGN IS LADY PARTS (LAUGHTER)

>> THEY'RE THE SAME IN MALES AND FEMALES.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE SAYING 22/23 OF ME IS LADY PARTS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

>> I WILL TAKE THAT, YEAH,

SURE.

>> Stephen: OKAY SO, I'M MOSTLY LEAD, GO AHEAD.

>> WELL, NO, BUT ACTUALLY IT'S THESE 22 PAIRS ARE THE SAME IN MALES AND FEMALES.

>> Stephen: RIGHT.

>> IT'S THE 23 PAIR THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.

SO THE 23rd PAIR IN FEMALES IS TWO PERFECTLY MATCHED X CHROMOSOMES.

BUT IN YOU, STEPHEN, AND IN ALL THE OTHER MALES HERE IN COLBERT NATION-- THE 23rd

PAIR IS A MISMATCHED X AND A Y CHROMOSOME.

SO IF I MAY.

>> Stephen: I'M NOT SURE IF I MAY.

I HAD HEARD AS LONG AS YOU ARE MENTIONING THE Y, IS SOMETHING THAT WORRIES ME, I

HAD HEARD FOR YEARS THAT THESE Y CHROMOSOME THAT MAKES US A MAN, WAS GOING AWAY.

I HEARD LIKE IF PEOPLE OUT THERE ARGUING THAT SOON MEN WOULD BE OBSOLETE AND WE

WOULD JUST BE AN ALL LADY PLANET.

>> WELL.

>> Stephen: A LESBIAN PLANET.

>> THIS IS-- .

>> Stephen: BUT NO MEN AROUND TO WATCH.

>> BUT THIS IS-- THIS IS THE OUT MATE INSULT THAT HAS BEEN THROWN IN THE FACE OF

THE Y CHROMOSOME.

THAT IT'S GOING TO DISAPPEAR.

AND THE CLAIM HAS BEEN MADE SPECIFICALLY THAT IT'S GOING TO DISAPPEAR IN 10 MILLION

YEAR'S TIME SO LET ME TELL YOU WHERE THIS STORY BEGAN.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> SO NOW I HAVE TO GRAB THESE.

>> Stephen: GO FOR IT.

>> SO.

>> Stephen: THIS IS A FAMILY SHOW, BEFORE YOU-- NOT SURE WHERE THIS IS GOING.

THE CHROMOSOME IS-- ARE YOU TALKING SEX TALK WITH CHROMOSOMES.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT SEX CHROMOSOMES WHICH ARE THE CHROMOSOMES,.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT THIS IN THE MAGAZINE NATURE,

RIGHT.

>> NATURE, YEAH.

SO 300 MILLION YEARS AGO WHEN WE WERE REPTILES WE ACTUALLY EXISTED AS MALES

AND FEMALES BUT WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY HAVE ANY SEX CHROMOSOMES.

>> Stephen: DO WE HAVE YOU KNOW --

>> YEAH, WE DID.

WE DID.

SO LET ME TELL YOU WHAT BEGAN TO HAPPEN.

300 MILLION YEARS AGO.

>> Stephen: THAT IS A SCRUNCHIE.

>> THIS IS A SCRUNCHIE SO 300 MILLION YEARS AGO ONE MEMBER OF A PERFECTLY ODE

UNSUSPECTING PAIR OF CHROMOSOMES GOT A MUTATION,

OKAY SO WE ARE GAEING TO HAVE TO PUT THIS ON HERE.

AND ALL RIGHT, LIKE THAT.

AND.

>> Stephen: THIS IS THE DIRTY PART.

>> NO, NO-- .

>> Stephen: WE HAVE TO BLUR THAT OUT, JIMMY.

>> SO THIS ACQUIRED A SEX DETERMINING GENE.

THIS ONE IS BECOMING THE Y CHROMOSOME THIS ONE IS GOING TO BECOME THE X CHROMOSOME.

BUT IT TURNS OUT THAT AFTER IT ACQUIRED THIS SEX DETERMINING GENE, THE Y

CHROMOSOME ASSUMED SOME SORT OF FUNNY BEHAVIORS.

IT STOPPED SHARING INFORMATION WITH ITS PREVIOUSLY IDENTICAL PARTNER THE X CHROMOSOME.

>> Stephen: IT NEEDED SOME ME TIME.

>> YEAH, BUT IT TURNS OUT THAT THE ISOLATIONIST BEHAVIORS ON THE PART OF THE

Y CHROMOSOME LED ITS ECONOMY TO FAIL.

AND.

>> Stephen: LED ITS ECONOMY TO FAIL.

>> YEAH, YEAH.

>> Stephen: IS ALL OF AMERICA A Y CHROMOSOME.

>> BUT LET ME TELL YOU THE FULL STORY.

SO THE Y CHROMOSOME STARTED TO DETERIORATE AND A LOT OF STUFF CAME OFF AND THEN TO

MAKE IT WORSE, THE X CHROMOSOME AT THE SAME TIME AT THE EXPENSE OF THE Y, THE

X CHROMOSOME BEGAN TO EXPAND,

RIGHT?

SO NOW-- (LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: OBVIOUSLY THIS ONE JUST GOT OUT OF THE POOL.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: I HATE TO CUT TO THE CHASE BUT WE HAVE TO GET ALL OF THE PLEDGE DRIVE ITS.

>> YEAH, YEAH, RIGHT, RIGHT,

RIGHT.

>> Stephen: ARE THERE GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE MEN.

>> YEAH SO BASICALLY SOME OF MY SCIENTIFIC COLLEAGUES TOOK THIS SCENARIO

EXTRAPOLATED AND SAID IN THE FUTURE THE Y CHROMOSOME IS GOING TO JUST DISAPPEAR ALL TOGETHER.

NOW MIRACULOUSLY ACCORDING TO THIS THEORY WOMEN WERE NOT GOING TO GO EXTINCT AT THE SAME TIME.

HERE I WILL GIVE YOU THE X CHROMOSOME IF YOU WOULD LIKE SO IT TURNS OUT THAT WE HAD

TO SET THEY WILL QUESTION ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING HAPPEN WITH THE Y CHROMOSOME SO MY

COLLEAGUES AND I RECENTLY FOUND BY COMPARING YOUR Y CHROMOSOME.

>> Stephen: WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

>> YES WITH THE Y CHROMOSOME OF THE RHEESUS MONKEY AND WHAT WE FOUND WAS THAT YOUR

Y CHROMOSOME AND THE MONKEY Y CHROMOSOME CARRY ESSENTIALLY THE SAME GENE.

>> Stephen: IT WAS DARK.

WE WERE LOCKED IN THE SAME CAGE.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU WANT --

>> IT TURNS OUT THAT THAT SUGGESTS THAT NOTHING MUCH HAS HAPPENED TO THE Y

CHROMOSOME IN THE LAST 25 MILLION YEARS SO THE Y CHROMOSOME WAS IN A STEEP IT

NOSEDIVE BUT IT BASICALLY LEVELED OUT AND HAS BEEN FLYING AS A-- .

>> Stephen: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> SO WE'RE GOING TO BE OKAY.

>> WE'RE GOING TO BE OKAY.

>> Stephen: DOCTOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE WHITEHEAD IN