Well, in the sense that female non-sexual organs and male non-sexual organs aren’t the same, as they’ve been commonly considered to be. According to a team at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC), at Imperial College London, the stem cells that make up your organs do have a sexual identity attached to them, and thus behave differently than their sexual counterparts. In this study, a female fruit fly’s gut was observed to have enlarged after mating, likely due to the increased nutritional intake to rear healthy offspring. The reason this isn’t done all the time is that this makes it more likely for tumors to develop in the gut, so this is only done when the sake of their progeny is at stake.

(This fruit fly may be female, but her intestines were made to identify as male. There’s potentially some conflicted gender identity.)

What’s interesting is that when the female fruit fly was given male gut stem cells, the gut no longer enlarged after mating, and retained the smaller gut size of males. It turns out that the sex organs are not the only organs that have a sexual identity. At least, in fruit flies. No tests have been done on human organs yet, although it is believed that the principle will hold true, albeit in potentially different ways.

(Artist rendition of stem cells)

Medically this is significant since it may lead to explanations or understandings of how and why male and female patients may need different medical treatments since their organs function somewhat differently. Furthermore, it continues to advance our understanding of how males and females are different based on the nuances of the physical workings of their body. Overall, it’s very confusing when you apply this to gender theory.

But humans have had a poor understanding of their own bodies and inner workings for thousands of years. Is it possible that this is on the path to a deeper understanding of our physiology as a gendered species, or that these differences are conditional and minute, as I so far believe?



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