In biology, why do we have terminologies in terms of female relatoinships such as daughter cells and sister chromatids and not in terms of male relationships. When did this custom started and is there a reason for it ?


1 Answer 1


During the days when philosophers used to debate, they tended to regard reproduction as a feminine trait. So naturally organisms/cells capable of producing offspring are also given a feminine trait. The parent cell is often called the mother cell, and the daughter cells are so named because they eventually become mother cell themselves.

I presume there exists a similar argument for sister chromatids, in that they are identical. When they separate, they are usually termed as undivided chromosomes.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you back up this answer with a citation? $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ @MarchHo Tough to provide a scientific recommendation for this as this is common knowledge. I can link to other places on the web where they say the same thing though..answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070810035548AACEcrl $\endgroup$
    – Rover Eye
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Abit like why we call ship and storm she. There has yet to be a storm or hurricane called Bob.. $\endgroup$
    – JayCkat
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JayCkat But there are plenty of hurricanes with male names! $\endgroup$
    – DKangeyan
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ hmm looks like my reference on meteorology is a bit old. Looks like the practice of naming hurricanes solely after women came to an end in 1978 when men's and women's names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. I feel old. $\endgroup$
    – JayCkat
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 4:08

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