Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Planet of the Eves

This is now old news that the male entity is not necessary at all for the reproduction process even among diploid species. About one year back, a team of Japanese scientists led by Tomohiro Kono, a biologist at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, created baby mice without the introduction of sperm. They combined the genetic contents of two mouse eggs, —one of which had been genetically altered —to produce a live mouse that reached adulthood and reproduced. (link) Combine this discovery with DNA altering and humans will have a technique in their hand to control how to breed, whom to give birth to & when to breed. Various insect species exhibit this kind of structure. This phenomenon is known as Eusociality. The most familiar examples are insects such as ants, bees, and wasps, with reproductive queens and sterile workers. Eusociality is also known among mammals: the naked mole rat is a clear case. It is very crucial to note that almost all of such species are known to be matriarchal in nature.

Let's examine the case of ants first. In every ant colony, eggs are laid by one or sometimes more queens. Queens are different in structure, they are the largest ones among all ants, especially their abdomens and thorax which are bigger than most ants. Their tasks are to lay eggs and produce more offspring. Most of the eggs that are laid by the queens grow up to become wingless, sterile females called workers. Periodically swarms of new queens and males called alates are produced, usually winged, which leave to mate. The males die shortly thereafter, while the surviving queens either found new colonies or occasionally return to their old one. The male-females ratios are found to be as skewed as 1:3 in such systems.

Even in mammalian species like Lions, males are significant only for the purpose of mating. In a typical setting, 3-5 females acquire a piece of land along with a male. All of them share the burden of hunting & contributing for the pack. At the time of mating, usually another male approaches the pack & forced by the instinctive possessivenessss both the males fight for the lionesses & the area. Whoever loses leaves. This ensures that only the best genes are carried forward to the next generation. After breeding the males are least responsible towards the cubs & often end up killing them. Hence, it's mainly females who bear the burden of carrying forward the genes.

Now, with the invention of our Japanese geniuses, the Human race has the chance to move to eusocial societies. With no important need of males in sight, it might happen that they will be produced in a limited number, just to suffice for menial jobs (as workers) or as soldiers. Females are anyway more than comfortable handing nearly all jobs in today's world. If males aren't required for reproduction, who might ever need them?! Now I know, this is a very far-stretched imagination, but I feel females will rule this planet one day, with males scuttling for their lives. Not very different from the movie -- Planet of the Apes. They'll probably call it -- Planet of the Eves (That time the traffic will certainly be all time worst ;-) ).

(The sine wave. It's believed that everything follows this pattern.)

Quite interestingly, this theory finds some support in theosophy. There is one widely known idea in theosophy called cyclic law - it simply states that there is a periodical return or cycling back of something from some place once more. Cyclic law prevails everywhere. It prevails in every kingdom of nature, in the animal, mineral and human world; in history, in the sky, on the earth. Is says that about everything in this universe keeps oscillating just like a sine wave. The human race started with primitive communist system - everyone was considered equal, irrespective of sex. But atleast for last 3000 years, females are considered the weaker sex & are oppresseded by the males in the society. We live in the times where the present generations are awaking towards the notion of equal rights for males & females. These three points can be located in the graph give above -- x-axis is the time line, +ve y-axis is pro-males era & -ve y-axis is female dominated time. We started with zero bias and went into +ve y side. Right now we are approaching the x-axis from the +ve y side. This new discovery about reproduction might very well push the entire humanity into an era of female dominance.

Just imagine Planet of the Apes with apes replaced by beautiful lasses. If nothing else this theory can make one hell of an interesting movie! After exhausting all sorts of extinct, existent & noexistentnt species, probably Hollywood can make a movie over this. With some budding sci-fi writers (like Vivek), this idea should atleast get me some royalty money.


Jeet said...

I have seen atleast two movies with all females theme.. don't recall the names though..

Vivek Kumar said...

You should read "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. It would enrich you with more ideas and possibilities..

A bit tiring to begin with, but amazing by the time it ends..

Varun Singh said...

Haan jeetu bhai, I've also seen Charlie's Angels ;-). Waise seriously, idea was banal. I recently read about the Jap's invention and fancied the future in that light.

@Vivek: I'll try to get hold of that one right away.

Jeet said...

are nahin.. not charlies angles.. I saw a movie in which only females survived on earth and then one female 'created' a male and there was chaos :D

Varun Singh said...

yeh to wohi baat ho gayi ki Godzilla was there, still Jurrasic Park was HUGE hit ;-)
VC log movie banane ke liye paise de dete hain kya?

Vivek Kumar said...

Jeet.. I think we watched that movie together in Dwarka on Star Movies or HBO...

Varun Singh said...

@Vivek: gimme the name of movie. I've bought "The Handmaid's Tale". Coming to Delhi on 11th. Will be going back on 26th from Delhi. Beech mein free hai?