Human Exceptionalism

It’s in the Genes: Study Says Men Doomed to Die Younger

I could make the old joke about men dying earlier because we have to put up with women, but Secondhand Smokette would validate the study by killing me.  So let me just skip the bad joke and get to the report that claims men are genetically doomed to earlier deaths.  From the story:

In Britain, women live about four years longer than men. A woman born in Britain today has a life expectancy of 81, while men can expect to live only to 77. The disparity has long been thought to be because of lower rates of cancer in women, their healthier lifestyles, safer jobs and the fact that they are more likely to go to their GP with problems.  However, new research has suggested part of the reason for the difference may be more fundamental than lifestyle and general health – and may in fact be rooted in our genes.

While men have evolved to be bigger in order to fight for females and the right to reproduce, this has shortened their lifespan because they expend more energy and place themselves under more stress and in dangerous situations, the resesearchers said. Women, by contrast, are smaller and lighter and put more energy into conceiving and nurturing their off-spring which means they do not have to sacrifice a long life.

Wait a minute: I thought that men and women weren’t different.  Or is that off now?  I can’t keep track.

Here’s the study part:

The research, published in the journal Human Reproduction, involved complicated science to create mice using only genetic material from females. These mice lived 186 days longer than normal mice which lived for between 600 and 700 days on average…The oldest normal mouse lived for 996 days with all but one of them dying by 800-days-old. By contrast, the oldest mouse with two mothers lived for 1,045 days with all but three of them living past 800-days-old. The researchers found that the mice with two mothers were significantly lighter and smaller. They also had better immune systems with significantly more white blood cells of a particular type.

Great, another reason to do away with fathers. But did they try rats with two fathers and no mothers?  Just wait, it’s coming.

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