Every cell in our body may have its own gender or sexual identity.
Researchers from MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC), based at Imperial College, London, recently worked on fruit flies, and found that the body parts may have their own sexual identity. They are of opinion that this gender difference between body parts raises the probability that men and women may require different treatments.
In the study, researchers were trying to find whether only cells of the sex organs are aware of their sexual identity or cells in other organs are also aware of these differences in sex. Therefore, they studied stem cells of intestines of flies. They utilized the genetic tools to know about the sexual identity of those cells.
“We find that the adult intestinal epithelium is a cellular mosaic of different sex differentiation pathways, and displays extensive sex differences in expression of genes with roles in growth and metabolism,” researchers noted in the paper.
They noted that female or feminized cells show better ability to proliferate, and this ability helps intestine in female flies to grow during the process of reproduction. They also reported that the female intestine has more chances of getting tumors.
“We find it’s a lot easier to create genetically-induced tumours in females than in males. So we suspect there is a trade-off going on. Females need this increased plasticity to cope with reproduction, but in certain circumstances that can be deleterious and make the female gut more prone to tumours,” researchers stated.
Researchers also found that the effect of feminizing adult gut stem cells could be reversed. “If we take a female fly and then in the adult we masculinise the stem cells in the intestine and wait, within three weeks the gut shrinks to the smaller, male-like size,” said CSC and EMBO*-postdoc, Bruno Hudry, who is first author of the paper.
“Further research is now needed to see how this finding translates to humans. If this intrinsic knowledge held by stem cells is indeed driving the way our organs behave, it could also influence the way these same organs respond to treatment,” stated researchers.
Therefore, we can study further on the idea that one of our eyes is female and the other is male, one of our kidneys is female in nature and the other is male. Ummmmmm……
Hudry, B., Khadayate, S., & Miguel-Aliaga, I. (2016). The sexual identity of adult intestinal stem cells controls organ size and plasticity Nature, 530 (7590), 344-348 DOI: 10.1038/nature16953