According to the latest research, male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose their Y chromosomes. The study, which originated from Sweden at Uppsala University., found a link between the Y chromosome loss and a shorter life span. It also found a higher risk of multiple cancers.
The team who worked on the study researched the data on more than 6,000 men. The data took into account the males ages, as well as exercise habits, cholesterol, alcohol intake and many other factors which could have influenced results.
What is the Y chromosome?
The Y chromosome is the stretch of DNA that makes a man. The Y chromosome comes from the male and is vital for sex determination of a child and sperm production. The Y chromosome controls more than just the production of male hormones, it could also be linked to how the body fights cancer.
But, if the male candidate smokes, then it has been proven in this study that the Y chromosome is more likely to disappear from blood cells compared to those men who have never smoked - or men who have been a smoker but managed to quit.
Y chromosomes are only produced by men along with an X chromosome, whereas women have two X chromosomes. It is therefore the male that determines the sex of a child.
Jan Dumanski, an Uppsala professor, commented, “There is a correlation between a common and avoidable risk factor, that is smoking, and the most common human mutation -- loss of the Y chromosome... this may in part explain why men in general have a shorter life span than women and why smoking is more dangerous for men…This discovery could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit.”
This is one of many reasons why quitting smoking of tobacco products is a good idea. As well as lung cancer, tobacco smoking is linked to a wide range of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure.
Hope for the quitters
The data showed that some men who decided to quit smoking successfully appeared to regain their Y chromosomes, showing the reversible effects of smoking.
Lars Forsberg, who also worked on the study, said: “This discovery could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit.”