Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Genetics and Eve
Division of Science
Central WesleYan College
Central, South Carolina 29630
From: JASA 24 (June 1972): 77.
George Jennings (Journal ASA 23, 139 (1971)) asks for the reaction of Christian geneticists to the Incarnation and the creation of Eve. I believe I qualify on both counts. Reaction: the creation of Eve was a miraculous event, and so was the Incarnation.
Parthenogenesis may have happened in man (see
Chapter 14 of Pregnancy: Conception and Heredity,
Blaisdell, 1965 by Erieweiser for an interesting discussion of a possible female human produced by parthenogenesis and of related matters); Weiser cites S. Balfour-Lynn in the June 30, 1966 Lancet, but since females have an XX chromosome constitution and males an XY, there seems no way of producing a male human without the assistance of a Y-bearing cell. Male turkeys have been parthenogenetically produced, but here the female has an XY chromosome constitution, and the male is XX. (Olsen, M.W and S. J. Marsden"Natural Parthenogenesis in Turkey Eggs" Science 120: 545-546, 1954; Olsen, M.W. "Segregation and Replication of Chromosomes in Turkey Parthenogenesis", Nature 212: 435-436, 1966; Poole, H.K. and MW. Olsen, "The Sex of Parthenogenetic Turkey Embryos" J. Heredity 48: 217-218, 1957.)
It might be possible, ebromosomally speaking, for a male to produce a single XX cell or a group of XX cells if certain processes known to occur in other organisms (such as the turkey) do occur in man, but this would he just a first step, itself unlikely, in producing a viable female from a male. In other words, genetically speaking, Eve is possible, but the Genesis account leaves the much more important question of how she developed from a group of cells to a (presumed) adult to God's direct work, in my opinion.