Who says that women have to be considered the weaker of the two sexes? In fact, there’s some evidence I’d like to share with you that might have you looking at the differences between the sexes from a whole new perspective.
According to geneticist Dr. Barbara Migeon, a professor at the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, There’s a fundamental genetic difference between men and women that we’ve been overlooking. What is this difference? The X chromosome.
Most of us know the basics when it comes to this genetic component. Each child is born with two “sex chromosomes,” one from each parent. The female will have two X chromosomes and the male will have one X and one Y chromosome. The mother always passes on the X chromosome to her child; it’s the father’s contribution — X or Y — that determines the sex of the infant.
However, genetics research has uncovered that there’s far more to the X chromosome than we had previously thought.
It’s common knowledge that, in general, women seem to live longer than men do. The numbers peg the average life span at 74.8 years for men and 80.1 for women. That’s quite a difference! It’s always been thought that factors such as lifestyle, hormones, or reproductive organs were behind this phenomenon. Now, it seems that the “X advantage” could be the real reason for this.
According to Dr. Migeon, the X chromosome gives females a powerful advantage over males when it comes to health. Research has shown that this starts in the womb, where female fetuses have a higher survival rate than male fetuses do. Pregnancies involving males seem to have a greater tendency toward chromosome abnormalities.
Dr. Migeon says that there are 1,100 genes within the X chromosome. Isn’t that amazing? This means that its function is much more expansive in your body than popular medicine once thought.
It’s involved in many essential processes, including blood clotting, muscle function, and the elimination of waste from cells. The Y chromosome doesn’t seem to have these abilities, making it quite one-dimensional and of no real health benefit.
This doesn’t mean that women have the two X chromosomes working simultaneously in a specific cell; on the contrary, they can only function properly one at a time. However, in different cells, the different X chromosomes’ genes could be at work. This is called “mosaicism” and it’s why females tend to stay healthier and why they live to an older age.
Basically, if there is some kind of genetic defect in the X chromosome that came from the mother, for example, then the body can switch to the healthier one from the father. It’s like having a back-up copy of your computer’s hard drive, or more than one roadmap, in case you get lost. Men, having only one X chromosome, simply don’t have this option, thus making them more prone to certain diseases.
Dr. Migeon feels that this is just the beginning. Many more physical differences between the sexes could be due to the genes carried within the potent X chromosome. So, keep an eye out for more news on this topic!