Posted on Sep 03, 2012, 6 a.m.
Why women live, on average, longer than men may be explained by genetic variation across mitochondria – the energy powerhouses of cells.
Researchers from Monash University (Australia) submit that mutations to the DNA of the mitochondria – the energy powerhouses of cells - may account for differences in the life expectancy of males and females. The team worked to uncover differences in longevity and biological aging across male and female fruit flies that carried mitochondria of different origins. They found that genetic variation across these mitochondria were reliable predictors of life expectancy in males, but not in females, a finding that the researchers suggest points to numerous mutations within mitochondrial DNA that affect how long males live, and the speed at which they age. Writing that: “our results indicate that the mitochondrial mutation loads affecting male aging generally comprise numerous mutations over multiple sites,” the study authors conclude that: “Our findings thus suggest that males are subject to dramatic consequences that result from the maternal transmission of mitochondrial genomes.”
Camus MF, Clancy DJ, Dowling DK. “Mitochondria, Maternal Inheritance, and Male Aging.” Curr Biol. 2012 Aug 1.