A great read over on Amasian Science about the Olympics and some important, but sensitive, issues.
Barr bodies used to bar men from competing as women
Last week, I discussed the inadequacies of genetic-based gender verification. What I failed to mention was that at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico,
“Barr body detection was introduced and was widely proclaimed to be the solution to gender misrepresentation in sport. This reportedly ‘simpler, objective and more dignified’ test involved the cytological analysis of a buccal smear. The Barr body was first detected by Murray Barr in 1948 during research on the nervous system of cats – cells were analysed following electrical stimulation and a dark staining body was found in the nucleus of some animals and not others. The distinction was found to be related to sex and a similar finding was noted in human autopsies. The findings were published in Nature in 1949 and the nuclear marking became known as the Barr Body.“1
As it turns…
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