Sperm's Genes Contribute to Shorter Life

Dec 03, 2009
Women may live longer than men because they do not have sperm, scientists say.

The recent study conducted by the Japanese scientists revealed that the gene in sperm contributes to shorter lifespan in males. Tomohiro Kono and Manabu Kawahara, the leading researchers of the study created the so-called 13 "bi-maternal" mice with genetic material from two mothers without a father. Scientists altered genes in a mouse eggs so that it could fertilise another egg, which resulted in an embryo with only maternal genes.

The results of the study showed that "bi-maternal" mice lived 186 days longer on average than mice with normal genetic material.  The longest living "bi-maternal" mouse lived for 1,045 days if compared to 996 days for mouse with common mixture of genes from mother and father. Also the study found that mice born from two mothers had other advantages like stronger immune system. They were also lighter and smaller on average than normal mice.

Scientists say that a gene Rasgrf1 imprinted on chromosome 9, linked to post-natal growth is responsible for shorter life in men. The gene is inherited from father and is repressed in females, which explains why "bi-maternal" mice lived longer.

The study has been published in European journal Human Reproduction..