Worldwide, women outlive men. There’s been several theories proposed to explain this. However, just this week new findings point to a mother’s genes as the sole reason men have shorter lifespans than women.
Previous beliefs for this trend included the idea that men work harder than women, and that lifestyle leads to earlier death. The idea that women are affected by health issues later in life than men has also been questioned. If women tend to get ailments like heart disease 10 years later than men, their death ages would naturally be later, on average.
The fact that women tend to have healthier habits than men has been a theory before, too. It was even once believed that estrogen led to longevity. But while all of these ideas seemed logical at one point, they’ve since been disproven.
So, why are women outliving men by an average of five years? This week the journal Current Biology released findings that may have the complete answer.
According to an article from Live Science writer Stephanie Pappas, the answer to this trend is in the mitochondria – the energy-producing parts of our cells. Mitochondria have their own, separate DNA, and this DNA is passed only from mother to child. (more…)