We love it when Epigenetic research hits the mainstream media, if for no other reason than our family and friends will have some idea of what we’re talking about when they ask about our work. This new article from sceintists at Ghent University in Belgium definitely fits the bill. Their new research finds that X-linked miRNAs leads to a distinct advantage for women when it comes to immunity from disease.
So, what gives this unfair immune advantage to the fairer sex? It seems that a significant number of miRNAs related to immune function are located on the X chrromosome. Since women, of course, have two copies of the X chromosome they have a more robust defense against illness, and are able to fend off disease even when there is a problem with one X copy.
These new findings could have huge implications for research into evolution and the causes and cures for disease. But of course, the good news (or bad news depending on your point of view) is that men now have an epigenetic excuse for whining like babies whenever we’re under the weather.
Get your X-linked miRNA immunity up to date at BioEssays, October 2011