In many species, including humans, males live shorter than females. Recent research has unveiled the chronic deterioration of chromatin structure, and in particular the loss of heterochromatin, as a main driver of aging at the cellular level. Males often contain substantially more heterochromatic DNA than females, due to the presence of a large, repeat-rich Y chromosome. We are studying the link between sex-specific survivorship and sex-specific chromatin changes during the lifespan of an individual.
Old males lose heterochromatin more rapidly than females.
Repeats become derepressed more in males.
Flies with more Y chromosomes live shorter.
Brown E, Nguyen AH, Bachtrog D (2020) The Y chromosome may contribute to sex-specific aging in Drosophila. in press. bioRxiv 156042; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/156042