‘Eve-olution’ – natural selection may help women live longer
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Women may live longer because of the beneficial effects of evolution
It says that “a mutation in the power producers of the body's cells is more harmful to males than females”.
This news is based on research on the DNA in the “powerhouses” of cells - the mitochondria - in fruit flies, and their influence on aging and lifespan.
But mitochondrial DNA is different in that only females pass on their mitochondria to their offspring.
This is thought to be responsible for an effect that has been termed as the ‘Mother’s Curse’ by geneticists.
The ‘curse’ is that mutations in mitochondrial DNA that are harmful to females will be filtered out by the process of natural selection.
Women with beneficial mutations are more likely to survive and reproduce than women with harmful mutations.
There is no evolutionary pressure filtering out mutations that are harmful to males, while at same time, promoting ‘useful male’ mutations.
Variations in mitochondrial DNA were linked with aging and lifespan in male fruit flies, but not female fruit flies.
More research will be needed to determine whether these findings in fruit flies also apply to other species, including humans.