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.

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 April 19, 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 April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) — Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
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
from the past week

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