New Scientist on “Between XX and XY”, by Gerald N. Callahan

Cover, Between XX and XY

New Scientist magazine has published a review of Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes, by Gerald N. Callahan PhD, an immunologist and pathologist at Colorado State University.

The review is worth reading, and we are now seeking a review copy of the book so that we can look at it from an intersex perspective.

From Deborah Blum’s review:

The stereotypical view of two sexes – me Tarzan, you Jane – limits understanding of our own biology.

“We still see a gap where none exists,” Callahan writes, “a mirage that shimmers over the hot land of sex.” He argues instead that there is a range of sexual characteristics that stretches from the testosterone-inflated Tarzan to the womanly “perfection” of a stereotypical Jane and all the variations that lie in between. “In truth, we are all intersex,” he concludes.

The standard model of human development is built on 46 chromosomes, including two that determine sex: XX for female, XY for male. But, as Callahan points out, not everyone ends up 46XX or 46XY.

Variations in sperm or egg, in the mixing of cells from mother and father and in the cell division that follows can all stir the genetic soup into alternative outcomes. The possibilities, Callahan writes, “are as grand and as varietal as the fragrances of flowers: 45X; 47XXX; 48XXXX; 49XXXXX; 47XYY; 47XXY; 48XXXY; 49XXXXY; and 49XXXYY.” These variations are familiar to geneticists – the first on the list, for instance, is known as Turner’s syndrome – but the general public is still stuck in a black and white, XX/XY world.

Book Information:

Title: Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes
Author: Gerald N. Callahan
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Date: 1st July 2009
ISBN: 1556527853
ISBN13: 9781556527852
Price: $US24.95
Format: Cloth

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