Re: Change from 48 to 46 chromosomes

Andrew Spring (
Sat, 14 Oct 1995 22:01:07 +0100

In article <45mhoj$>, VINCENT@REG.TRIUMF.CA (pete) wrote:

>donald e. tyler ( sez:
>`Any evolutionary guesses
>`as to how apes with 48
>`chromosomes were changed
>`to homo sapiens with 46?
>This relates only peripherally to your question, but I remember reading
>an article I believe by Art Clarke, (it's been about 25 years,
>so I'm not sure, but it was nonfiction by an author sometimes guilty
>of sci-fi) wherein he relates that people for years thought they knew
>how many chromosomes we had. They had the photographs, and they'd
>counted them. Textbooks had been published containing the photographs,

I remember this anecdote being told in the other direction: that humans
were supposed to have 48 chromosomes for years until someone recounted and
saw that there were only 46. This was referred to as the "Rule of 48" by
Michael Crichton in "The Andromeda Strain". The rule was summarized "All
scientists are blind."

Any old-timers know if there's any Truth In The Rumor?

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