New light is being shed on a little-known role of Y chromosome genes, specific to males, that could explain why men suffer differently than women from various diseases, including COVID-19. The findings were published Septmber 10, 2020 in Scientific Reports by Université de Montréal Professor Christian Deschepper, MD, PhD, Director of the Experimental Cardiovascular Biology Research Unit of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute. The open-access article is titled “Regulatory Effects of the Uty/Ddx3y Locus on Neighboring Chromosome Y Genes and Autosomal mRNA Transcripts in Adult Mouse Non-Reproductive Cells." "Our discovery provides a better understanding of how male genes on the Y chromosome allow male cells to function differently from female cells," said Dr. Deschepper, the study's sole author, who is also an Associate Professor at McGill University. "In the future, these results could help to shed some light on why some diseases occur differently in men and women." Humans each have 23 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes. While females carry two X sex chromosomes, males carry one X and one Y chromosome. This male Y chromosome carries genes that females lack. Although these male genes are expressed in all cells of the body, their only confirmed role to date has been essentially limited to the functions of the sex organs.
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