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Putting the X and Y in SEXY

Wagner Free Institute of Science

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT)

Philadelphia, PA

Putting the X and Y in SEXY

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~Weeknights at the Wagner~

Putting the X and Y in SEXY 
How chromosomal genes turn us into boys, girls, and sometimes a bit of both

An illustrated presentation by Dr. Scott Gilbert, Professor Emeritus, Swarthmore College


The idea that mammals with two X chromosomes become females while mammals with an X and Y chromosome become males was discovered in 1905, but scientists are still uncovering how the genes on these chromosomes cause the development of testes and ovaries and how these organs organize tissues to become either male or female. Males and females take the same parts and modify them in different ways—we’re only now figuring out how this is done. Sometimes, there is a disconnect between what the genes say we are and how we actually turn out. Maybe it is time to redefine our two-sex world.

Dr. Scott Gilbert is the Howard A. Schneiderman Professor Emeritus of Biology at Swarthmore College. His award-winning research looks at the ways in which evolution is a product of embryological changes. He is the author of three textbooks and has published extensively in academic journals. The recipient of numerous award, Gilbert is a Finland Distinguished Professor at the University of Helskinki.

 Image: Hermaphrodite (Pitch Card), Unknown Photographer, early 1900′s 

This program is free, but a suggested donation of $8-$10 ensures that we can continue bringing you fantastic programs like this one. 

Have questions about Putting the X and Y in SEXY? Contact Wagner Free Institute of Science

When & Where


Wagner Free Institute of Science
1700 W Montgomery Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19121

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EDT)


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Wagner Free Institute of Science

Founded in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is dedicated to providing free public education in science.  Its programs include free courses and lectures, field trips and lessons for children and museum tours for all ages. The evening science courses are in their 159th year, making them the oldest program devoted to free adult education in the United States. 

The Institute’s Museum houses more than 100,000 natural history specimens, a collection begun by founder William Wagner in the early nineteenth century and expanded by the pre-eminent scientist Joseph Leidy in the 1880s. Completed in 1865, the Institute’s National Historic Landmark building is essentially unchanged since the late-nineteenth century and includes a Victorian Exhibition Hall filled with fossils, shells, minerals and mounted animal skeletons and skins displayed in original wood and glass cabinets. The Museum is open to visitors Tuesdays - Fridays, 9 AM to 4 PM, year-round. Evening and weekend programs are offered during the fall, winter and spring.
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