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“Sex in the Post-genome Era” Symposium

Posted October 27, 2016

On Oct. 20-21, the “Sex in the Post-genome Era” symposium facilitated discussion on how genetics influence and interact with gender and sex, merging knowledge from fields of social sciences, history, biology, health, and others. The symposium was a collaborative effort sponsored by the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, One Health Initiative, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Graduate and Professional Studies.TIGSS1

The keynote address was given by Dr. Sarah Richardson, John L. Loeb professor of the social sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of the History of Sciences at Harvard University. She is a renowned scholar studying sex and genetics who has authored several books on the subject, including Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome.

As part of her talk, Richardson detailed the history of genetic conceptions of sex, current theories on the topic, and suggested future research directions. She said her aim of this talk was to bring together the tools of history, philosophy, sociology, and science and consider ongoing developments in the study of sex.

Richardson challenged traditional concepts about sex and gender as it relates to genetics. “Sex is not a concept that is transcendent and written a priori,” she said. “It’s a meek human concept, a humble concept, a plural concept, a polysemic and pragmatic concept by which we try to grasp the world.”

The following day, the discussion continued with the following presentations:

  • To Merge or Not to Merge: Mate Choice and its Role in Adaptive Hybridization by Dr. Karin Pfennig, University of North Carolina
  • Mate Choice and its Consequences by Dr. Gil Rosenthal, Texas A&M University
  • Evolution of Sex and Gender in Cichlid Fish by Dr. Reade Roberts, North Carolina State University
  • Born to be Gendered by Dr. Gerianne Alexander, Texas A&M University
  • Sex Differences in the Efficacy of microRNA as Stroke Neuroprotectants by Dr. Farida Sohrabji, Texas A&M University
  • Clunky Males and Integrated Females by Dr. Locke Rowe, University of Toronto
  • The X in Sex: An Evolutionary Perspective by Dr. William Murphy, Texas A&M University
  • DNA Methylation and Dosage Compensation by Dr. Paul Waters, University of New South Wales

A poster session was also held as part of the stress symposium. The winners are as follows:

  • 1st Place: Alexandra Trott (Genetics and Genomics)
  • 2nd Place: Camille Duran (Genetics and Genomics)
  • 3rd Place: Carolina Mantilla Rojas (Genetics and Genomics)
  • 1st Place: Vincent Provasek (Sex and Gender Studies)
  • 2nd Place: Jofre Gaston (Sex and Gender Studies)
  • 3rd Place Tie: Wesley Brahser & Elena Gart (Sex and Gender Studies)


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