Life history theory posits the evolution of sex-biased traits through asymmetries in the costs of reproduction. The research presented here evaluated the downstream effects of sex-biases in two age-related disease profiles: tooth loss, in which females exhibit a higher disease burden, and melanoma, in which females have a survival advantage.
Among the Tsimane, a natural fertility population of forager-horticulturalists with a high lifetime fertility and no access to oral healthcare, females lose more than males and around half a tooth per child. Parity accounts for 1.2\% of variation in tooth loss within females, but no variation in tooth loss in males. We conclude that teeth are not a major cost of female reproduction in Tsimane females.
Despite their poorer overall prognosis relative to females, late-stage and metastatic melanoma tumors in males have a higher tumor mutational burden than females. Here we show this relationship extends to early stage primary tumors. Males are likely to have high TMB when compared to females, despite a poorer overall prognosis.
The two studies presented here will help us better understand the role of sex in melanoma and tooth loss. They are important steps in towards a better understanding of the role of sex in disease.
Sex differences, Melanoma, Tooth loss, Costs of reproduction
Level of Degree
UNM Department of Anthropology
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Schwartz, Matthew R.. "Sex Differences in Age-Related Disease." (2020). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/anth_etds/188
Available for download on Sunday, July 31, 2022