Sexing the X: How the X Became the “Female Chromosome”

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Sexing the X: How the X Became the “Female Chromosome”

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Title: Sexing the X: How the X Became the “Female Chromosome”
Author: Richardson, Sarah S
Citation: Richardson, Sarah S. 2012. “Sexing the X: How the X Became the ‘Female Chromosome’.” Signs 37 (4) (June): 909-933. doi:10.1086/664477.
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Abstract: This essay examines how the X became the “female chromosome” and how the association of the X with femaleness influences research questions, models, and descriptive language in human sex chromosome research. I trace how the X is gendered female in scientific and popular discourse; document the contingent technical, material, and ideological factors that led to the feminization of the X during the first decades of sex chromosome research; and track the introduction of the “female chromosome” into human genetics at midcentury. In the second part of the essay, I document the continuing influence of the feminization of the X on genetic research, exemplified by “X chromosome mosaicism” theories of female biology and behavior.
Published Version: doi:10.1086/664477
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