Researchers discover genome-wide variations in gene expression between male and female mammals

gender difference
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A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has discovered genome-wide variations in gene expression between male and female mammals. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their RNA sequencing studies in several types of mammals and what they found.

Physiological differences between mammalian genders are quite often easy to spot—in addition to organs involved in reproduction, there are skeletal and facial hair differences, as well as height differences. Prior research and anecdotal evidence has also suggested there may be some differences in the way the brain works. But what about variations in ? The researchers in this new effort report that very little research has been done in this area, which is a problem—recent studies have shown that there are many -based health issues. Women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, for example. And men are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.

To understand why such differences exist, medical scientists need to better understand gender-based variations in the genome. To learn more about gender-based gene expression, the researchers sequenced the RNA of both genders of four non-human mammals: rats, mice, macaques and dogs. As part of their efforts, they tested different tissues in each of the animals to ensure that each germ layer was represented. They also sequenced tissue from all of the most prominent organs. They then compared what they found to similar data collected from stored in the Genotype Tissue Expression Consortium database.

The researchers found examples of hundreds of conserved gender-biased gene expressions in each tissue. As just one example, they found that 12 percent of the gender differences related to average height in humans could be attributed to conserved gender-biased gene expression. They note that such findings are significant because they prove that gender biases in gene can lead directly to differences in traits.

The researchers also found evidence that suggested such gender-biased gene expressions came about relatively recently, evolutionarily speaking. They suggest this finding indicates that researchers need to pay particular attention to such differences when using non-human models to study gender-based differences in humans.


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More information: Sahin Naqvi et al. Conservation, acquisition, and functional impact of sex-biased gene expression in mammals, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw7317
Journal information: Science

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Citation: Researchers discover genome-wide variations in gene expression between male and female mammals (2019, July 19) retrieved 22 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-genome-wide-variations-gene-male-female.html
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Jul 19, 2019
This article is clearly rubbish because we all know that gender differences are purely social constructs.

Jul 19, 2019
This article is clearly rubbish because we all know that gender differences are purely social constructs.

So... was that sarcasm?

Jul 20, 2019
"Physiological differences between mammalian genders are quite often easy to spot" - No, gender is a social construct. Sex is biological. You see physiological differences between sexes, and gender differences are social conventions to reflect the differences in the sexes. I'm a bit irritated by this article because I just spent two days arguing with people on Twitter who insist that men can become pregnant and have an abortion and the reason that I don't agree is that I'm racist.

Jul 20, 2019
Just to clarify, since the biologists study sexual species they are not concerned about the common sex/gender labels, which may confuse (and irritate). Trying to construe it as an attempt at social debate argument as some comments here do is, well, "rubbish".

On the general issue, sexual animals can be very sex differentiated due to sexual selection (say, peacock tail). In contrast humans has evolved to have very little sex variation.

This is what they find, sex variation is late evolved in mammals (different sexual selection) and - despite that some ancestors had perhaps 30 % height difference between sexes - sexual bias in autosomal gene expression correlated to height is a small part of current mean sex height difference. It was, by the way, smart to look at height which is multigene, and at autosomal variation since sex chromosomes tend to have more copy number variation.

TL;DR: Good paper, result is that it seems to be little sex difference in human autosomal gene expression.

Jul 20, 2019
A final note is that their sample size is large on humans, not so much on other species. (Re "good".)

Also, interesting that they mention ~ 10 % mean height difference between sexes (in adults), c.f. the 30 % difference seen in (meager and selection biased) fossil material in Australopithecines and 20 % in early humans [ https://www2.palo...lo_2.htm ]. The large Australopithecine difference has been (validly) criticized [ https://phys.org/...nes.html ], but the trend from larger to smaller difference has not.

Jul 20, 2019
This article is clearly rubbish because we all know that gender differences are purely social constructs.

So... was that sarcasm?


Can't tell, can you?
Which says a lot about the state of the West

Jul 20, 2019
This article is clearly rubbish because we all know that gender differences are purely social constructs.
Tabula rasa is dead you throwback. Pure, unadulterated sociopolitical propaganda.

Read a book. No, try google.

"Basic gender differences, such as greater eagerness for sex among men and greater coyness among women,[36] are explained as sexually dimorphic psychological adaptations that reflect the different reproductive strategies of males and females.[27][37] Evolutionary psychologists contrast their approach to what they term the "standard social science model," according to which the mind is a general-purpose cognition device shaped almost entirely by culture."
https://en.wikipe...ychology

-But Im pretty sure you wont read it as it threatens your faith.

Jul 21, 2019
What I find curiously funny is that it all boils down to the equivalent of 1 molecule of methane... :-)
Oh - and then add in the human tendency to over analyze things...

Jul 21, 2019
For all of your that are English-challenged, yes of course the first comment was sarcasm. Science keeps telling us that some "mainstream" thoughts are erroneous. Are we going to finally rejoice in the differences between the sexes? Or keep trying to pretend that there aren't any?

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