Females Superior to Males? In Health and Longevity, and Here's Why

We've been called the weaker sex.  But did you know we're really the survivors?  And it all has to do with placenta.

A University of Adelaide research team has been studying the underlying genetic and developmental reasons why male babies generally have worse outcomes than females, with significantly increased rates of pregnancy complications and poor health outcomes for males, according to newswise.com.

"Our research has found that there are undeniable genetic and physiological differences between boys and girls that extend beyond just the development of their sexual characteristics," the Web site quotes senior author of the paper Professor Claire Roberts, leader of the fetal growth research priority for the Robinson Research Institute. "We've known for some time that girls are clearly winning in the battle for survival, with markedly better outcomes for female babies for preterm birth, stillbirth, neonatal death, and other complications after birth."

The study cites as a problem males born 8 pounds 13 ounces.  My son was 8.15 at birth and he's doing just fine.

But apparently the fact that male babies generally grow faster and bigger than females can turn out not to be so advantageous. 

The researchers investigated whether the type and pattern of genes being expressed by the placenta is different for boys and girls."Our results suggest that there is a distinct sex bias in the regulation of genes in the human placenta," says lead author and University of Adelaide PhD student Sam Buckberry. "We found that with female babies, there is much higher expression of genes involved in placental development, the maintenance of pregnancy and maternal immune tolerance."

Buckberry notes that this may explain why girls are more likely to adopt a risk-averse strategy towards development and survival.  See?  We're not so weak, after all.

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