From cancer treatment to drug trials, acknowledging the relationship between genetic sex differences and health could revolutionise medicine, with benefits for the whole of humanity.
Why are women more likely to suffer from autoimmune disease and men more likely to suffer from ADHD? Why do vaccines work better on women than men, and men experience fewer traumatic head injuries than women? Why are more men born with congenital malformations such as tongue-tie, club foot, and webbed fingers and toes? Why do women outlive men everywhere in the world – even when you take into account social factors like warfare and lifestyle choices?
The answers lie in the profound but largely unacknowledged chasm dividing the chromosomal sexes. With two X chromosomes, genetic females have greater genetic diversity than genetic males – with the consequence that women are more resilient and have greater stamina at every stage of life. Genetic females are more capable of fighting cancer and more likely to survive a famine. Genetic males are more likely to suffer developmental disabilities and – despite their greater size and physical strength – are less likely to survive physical hardship.
Understanding these differences could drive powerful new insights for the future of health care – but instead, with few exceptions, doctors practice a male-centric, one-size-fits-all model of healthcare, to the detriment and endangerment of both men and women.
Dr Sharon Moalem is here to change that. The world’s leading expert on the consequences of chromosomal differences for human health, he’ll explore the new science of genetic sex – and make a compelling case for transforming the way we research and practice medicine for the betterment of us all.