The Actual Reason Men Die First

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13.04.20 – 1 208 99710:07
MinuteEarth Explains: Cats vs Dogs
Published on 31 May 2022, 16:11
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Because females often outlive males, behavior is often blamed - but there is a decent chance our sex chromosomes might be to blame instead.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
- Chromosome: a threadlike structure of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes.
- Gene: the basic unit of heredity passed from parent to child.
- Mutation: the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.
- Recessive allele: a type of allele which will not be manifested in an individual unless both of the individual's copies of that gene have that particular genotype.
- Transposon: a chromosomal segment that can undergo transposition, especially a segment of bacterial DNA that can be translocated as a whole between chromosomal, phage, and plasmid DNA in the absence of a complementary sequence in the host DNA.

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Cameron Duke | Script Writer and Director
Kate Yoshida | Narrator and Director
Sarah Berman | Illustration, Video Editing and Animation
Nathaniel Schroeder | Music

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Lizah van der Aart • Sarah Berman • Cameron Duke
Arcadi Garcia i Rius • David Goldenberg • Melissa Hayes
Alex Reich • Henry Reich • Peter Reich • Ever Salazar
Leonardo Souza • Kate Yoshida

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Austad, Steven N., and Kathleen E. Fischer. “Sex Differences in Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 1022–1033, 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.019.

Bronikowski, Anne M., et al. “Sex‐Specific Aging in Animals: Perspective and Future Directions.” Aging Cell, vol. 21, no. 2, 23 Jan. 2022, 10.1111/acel.13542.

Nguyen, Alison H., and Doris Bachtrog. “Toxic Y Chromosome: Increased Repeat Expression and Age-Associated Heterochromatin Loss in Male Drosophila with a Young Y Chromosome.” PLOS Genetics, vol. 17, no. 4, 22 Apr. 2021, p. e1009438, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009438.

Peona, Valentina, et al. “The Avian W Chromosome Is a Refugium for Endogenous Retroviruses with Likely Effects on Female-Biased Mutational Load and Genetic Incompatibilities.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 376, no. 1833, 26 July 2021, p. 20200186, 10.1098/rstb.2020.0186.

Sultanova, Zahida, et al. “Genetic Sex Determination and Sex-Specific Lifespan in Tetrapods – Evidence of a Toxic Y Effect.” BioRxiv, 9 Mar. 2020,,

Sultanova, Zahida, et al. “The “Unguarded-X” and the Genetic Architecture of Lifespan: Inbreeding Results in a Potentially Maladaptive Sex-Specific Reduction of Female Lifespan In Drosophila Melanogaster.” Evolution, vol. 72, no. 3, 2 Feb. 2018, pp. 540–552, 10.1111/evo.13426.

Sultanova, Zahida. (2022). Personal communication.

Xirocostas, Zoe A., et al. “The Sex with the Reduced Sex Chromosome Dies Earlier: A Comparison across the Tree of Life.” Biology Letters, vol. 16, no. 3, Mar. 2020, p. 20190867, 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0867.

Xirocostas, Zoe A. (2022). Personal communication.