The Gender Bias of Genes – Are Females More Susceptible To Cancer?

The Gender Bias of Genes - Are Females More Susceptible To Cancer?
Credit: Flickr Mehmet Pinarci

Genes are responsible for the physical, mental, biological, and chemical characteristics of individuals. Differences between males and females exist on the hormonal level, physical traits, and body tissues. It is even seen that one gender has a higher susceptibility towards cancer than the other.

Now, according to new studies, your gender is capable of affecting your genetic expression. This new study indicates the possibility of the need for different diagnostics, drug regimens, and treatment strategies for males and females.

The Gene And Its Many ‘Expressions’

A gene is the functional and physical unit of heredity. It is the basic unit of chromosomes. The composition of genes is DNA. Some genes code instructions for the production of proteins like amino acids, enzymes, and hormones.

However, other genes are responsible for the physical traits of an individual. Genes are responsible for many functions in your body. They vary in size. A gene can be of any size from a few hundred DNA-bases to more than 2 million DNA-bases.

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The new Northwestern Medicine study was completed in collaboration with the University of Chicago and the Center for Genomics Regulations in Barcelona. This new study indicates that genes are responsible for many functions of the body.

This includes how a person reacts to medication, how the immune system of an individual works, and which type of cancer can develop. Genes are responsible for the way by which a woman’s body controls blood sugar levels during pregnancy.


Gender Effects On Gene Expression and Body Functions

Gene expression is the process by which the message a gene contains, is decoded.  The message then assists in making new products. These products can be proteins, messenger-RNA, or other functional units.

Gender also affects the rate of gene expression to a small extent in every type of human tissue. Scientists have discovered 369 instances where the same genetic variation is present in both genders. But it resulted in different levels of gene expression.

Scientists were able to recognize 58 previously unreported links between genes and complex traits. This includes the link between gene and blood pressure, cholesterol levels, breast cancer, and body fat percentage.

Barbara Stranger, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology and senior author of the study. According to Barbara Stranger, gender is a biological variable, especially in human genetics. and genomics studies.

According to their study, more than 37% of genes have shown different levels of gene expression in males and females. Although the change in the amount of gene expression was mostly negligible, its effect was abundant.

This results in diverse molecular and biological changes, including responses to treatment, disease progression, and clinical trials.


Can Gene Expression Studies Help The Field Of Medicine?

Gender effects disease progression to some extent. For example, women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men. Similarly, age, the onset of disease, severity, response to treatment, and other disease characteristics differ in males and females.

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In a new study, scientists researched gender differences in the human transcriptome. They investigated human transcriptome from 44 types of healthy human tissues from 838 individuals. This study suggests that sex-specific or gender-specific biomarkers, therapeutics, and drug dosing are possible. It will help to design personalized medicine for males and females.

In this study, they discovered that in women, CCDC88 gene expression was linked with breast cancer. Also, that HKCD1 gene controls birth weight. While in men, DPYSL4 expression mediates body fat percentage, CLDN7 affects birth weight, and C9orf66 relates to balding.

However, these discoveries require further research to design biomarkers, diagnostics, drug development, and predicting outcomes. This study also has its limitations. The participants in the study were older individuals. The analysis does not consider the surrounding environment and sex differences that occur during different growths.

Bob Luthar
After serving as a lead author in leading magazines, Bob planned to launch its own venture as HealthWriteups. With a decade-long work experience in the media and passion in technology and gadgets, he founded this website. Luthar now enjoys writing on tech and software related topics. When he’s not hunched over the keyboard, Bob spends his time engulfed in Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels and movies. Email: