Men may have an easier ride than women in most aspects of life, but when it comes to biologically ageing, they’ve pulled the short straw. Sorry, did that sound smug?
Around 40 percent of 70-year-olds lose this male sex chromosome and scientists have previously attributed this to early death.
A new study published in Science Daily has revealed that men could benefit from an existing drug that targets tissue scarring.
Professor Kenneth Walsh, who is from the University of Virginia and led the research, explained: “Particularly past age 60, men die more rapidly than women. It's as if they biologically age more quickly."
He added: "This new research provides clues as to why men have shorter lifespans than women."
Y chromosomes start to deplete in a fraction of men’s cells as they age, a loss that actually accelerates among smokers.
According to Walsh, the drug Pirfenidone - which is already on the market - could help counteract the effects of chromosome loss.
Using gene-editing technology, researchers developed a mouse model in a bid to better understand the impact of Y chromosome loss in the blood.
It was discovered that, in mice, the loss accelerated age-related diseases and made the animals more prone to heart scarring, eventually leading to an earlier death.
The effects of Y chromosome loss in human men was also observed by researchers analysing data compiled by the UK Biobank study.
It was determined that Y chromosome loss was associated with both heart failure and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers say their findings could help men live longer by targeting the effects of Y chromosome loss.
For anyone wondering, chromosomes are DNA bundles in each of our cells that come in pairs; women have two X chromosomes and men have an X and Y chromosome.
Chromosomes make up our strings of DNA, which, in turn, make up our genomes.
The human genome is essentially the instruction manual to build and sustain a human being, and it's made up of more than three billion subunits of DNA.
Humans have about 30,000 genes, organised in 23 groups of chromosomes.
Scientists only fully assembled the full genetic blueprint for human life back in April, after finding the final few parts.
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