While many superstitions argue that trying to have children or feeding with certain foods at certain times will determine the sex of the child, it is clear that they are far from scientific reality. Sperms carry any of the X or Y sex chromosomes and determine the sex of the child according to the sex chromosome in the sperm that reaches the egg fastest. Although this ratio is normally considered to be 50%, the balance may be disturbed, according to a study published in PLOS Biology a few days ago.
The only difference between the X and Y chromosomes is not the size (the X chromosome is about three times longer than the Y chromosome), these two chromosomes also have different genes. Dr. Hiroshima University. Using these genetic differences, Takashi Umehera and his colleagues managed to alter the likelihood of female and male offspring in mice.
The researchers concentrated on the Toll-like receptor 7/8 gene. This gene is activated only in sperm containing X chromosomes and produces receptors that function in the tail and middle part of sperm cells. The researchers placed mouse sperm in an environment with molecules to bind to these receptors and activate them, and as a result of this activation observed a decrease in the energy production of X chromosome sperm. In addition, there was no change in Y chromosome sperm. According to the sperm races organized to confirm the findings, most of the genetically modified X chromosome sperm were able to move as fast as at least half of the Y chromosome sperm. As a result of IVF (in vitro fertilization, in vitro fertilization), 90% of the mouse pups were born as male. When the experiment was repeated by separating the slow sperm, 81% of the offspring were female.
There are other methods of gender selection. For example, it is possible to stain the sperm with a special dye and separate the sperm according to the length of the sex chromosome. However, these methods are expensive and can in some cases damage sperm cells or sperm DNA. The separation method according to the speed attained can be much more functional and harmless. For example, it may be useful in breeding dairy cows. Nevertheless, don’t think that you can choose the gender of your child in the near future, aside from ethical concerns, there is no evidence that the same mechanism works in humans.