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Science May Have Figured Out Why Women Live Longer Than Men: RNA

she blinded me with science

It’s common scientific knowledge that women have better life expectancies than men, even in the womb and in premature birth. And the efforts of science, anthopology, and sociology have come up with any number of reasons why. According to Wikipedia:

Traditional arguments tend to favor socio-environmental factors: historically, men have generally consumed more tobacco, alcohol and drugs… and are more likely to die from many associated [with drug use] diseases… Men are also more likely to die from injuries… and most of the leading causes of death (some already stated above) than women…

Some argue that shorter male life expectancy is merely another manifestation of the general rule, seen in all mammal species, that larger individuals tend on average to have shorter lives. This biological difference occurs because women have more resistance to infections and degenerative diseases.

Dr. Claude Libert fixed upon this last fact, that women are more immune resistant, and decided to inspect it’s causes. And he found a lot of RNA.

No, really, he looked at the fact that the X chromosome, of which women have two, has a lot of microRNA, a kind of RNA that is generally concerned with whether a gene is expressed or not. Apparently a lot of these microRNA strands are triggered to repress genes, but if a person has more than one X chromosome, there’s a greater chance that at least one of the two will have the gene expressed. According to Libert, while the function of most microRNA is unknown, “several X chromosome-located strands of microRNA have important functions in immunity and cancer.”

If the there are many more microRNA strands on the X chromosome, his theory may bear out, and maybe eventually we can find a way to teach guys’ X chromosomes to quite silencing so many immune beneficial genes.

(via io9.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.