Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The mother’s curse explains why women live longer than men

Date:
August 2, 2012
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
Women outlive men by about five to six years but why? By age 85 there are roughly six women to every four men and by age 100 the ratio is more than two to one.

Women outlive men by about five to six years but why? By age 85 there are roughly six women to every four men and by age 100 the ratio is more than two to one.

Related Articles


Now scientists think they may have found the answer in the aptly named "Mother's Curse."

Published in Current Biology, research led by Dr Damian Dowling and Florencia Camus of Monash University in Australia, together with Dr David Clancy of Lancaster University in the UK shows that a set of DNA inherited only from the mother can be harmful to males and speed up male aging.

Dr Dowling said the results point to numerous mutations within mitochondrial DNA that affect how long males live, and the speed at which they age.

He said: "Intriguingly, these same mutations have no effects on patterns of aging in females. They only affect males.

"All animals possess mitochondria, and the tendency for females to outlive males is common to many different species. Our results therefore suggest that the mitochondrial mutations we have uncovered will generally cause faster male aging across the animal kingdom."

Dr David Clancy from the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University said this is a major advance in biology.

"We show that Mother's Curse is much broader in its effects on male life history than previously envisaged, resulting in the build-up of mutations that cause males to age faster, and live shorter lives than females.

"These findings …offer a new and compelling explanation to one of life's greatest puzzles -- why the female of many species, including humans, live longer than the males. "

Mitochondrial DNA, which is found in every cell in the human body except red blood cells, converts the energy of food molecules into energy.

It is inherited through the mother only so any harmful mutations which affect only males will have no impact on females, who will continue to pass on mitochondrial DNA to their sons.

Earlier, the team of researchers published the first evidence proving that mitochondrial DNA harbour mutations which interfere with male fertility, but have no harmful effects on female fertility.

This latest research also implicates the Mother's Curse as a key player in evolution, since both male reproduction and male aging are affected by mitochondrial DNA passed on by the mother.

Dr Dowling said: "Together, our research shows that the mitochondria are hotspots for mutations affecting male health. What we seek to do now is investigate the genetic mechanisms that males might arm themselves with to nullify the effects of these harmful mutations and remain healthy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Florencia Camus, David J. Clancy, Damian K. Dowling. Mitochondria, Maternal Inheritance, and Male Aging. Current Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.07.018

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "The mother’s curse explains why women live longer than men." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120802141507.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2012, August 2). The mother’s curse explains why women live longer than men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120802141507.htm
Lancaster University. "The mother’s curse explains why women live longer than men." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120802141507.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


It's in Our Genes: Why Women Outlive Men

Aug. 2, 2012 — Scientists are beginning to understand one of life's enduring mysteries - why women live, on average, longer than ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins