Genetics gives women the edge

Posted: August 3, 2012 at 2:13 am

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a baby girl born today can expect to live to almost 84, while a boy is expected to live to 80. Photo: Tanya Lake

THE reason women live roughly four years longer than men in Australia may not solely be down to their reduced rate of obesity, risky behaviour and smoking. According to research published today, it's down to genetics.

Both men and women have mitochondrial DNA but researchers from Monash University and Lancaster University in England, found that only females were immune to mutations carried in the mitochondria, which is found in every cell of the body.

This ''evolutionary quirk'' means males are more susceptible to the mutations, which cuts their life expectancy.

''A significant genetic difference in lifespan between men and women can be traced back to the mitochondria,'' said Monash University evolutionary biologist Damian Dowling.

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''This difference is not caused by hormonal differences between the sexes, such as testosterone in males, or to risk-taking behaviour. It's genetic.''

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a baby girl born today can expect to live to almost 84, while a boy is expected to live to 80.

Mitochondria are found around the nucleus of cells. Often described as the powerhouse of cells due to their responsibility for producing energy, mitochondria have also been tied to the ageing process.

Only the mother passes it on to her children.

Originally posted here:
Genetics gives women the edge

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