In the 1960s, researchers who calculated the number of chromosomes in human white blood cells noticed a strange phenomenon: as they age, cells lose the Y chromosome. Subsequent studies have shown that loss of the Y chromosome is associated with cancer, heart disease and other conditions. Now, an analysis of 205,011 men in the UK biosample library has found that one in five of the blood found a detectable proportion of the Y chromosome symlost.
By age 70, 43.6% of men had the same problem. The researchers don’t know the cause, but believe it’s a clear sign of problems in men, such as the accumulation of mutations, and mutations associated with cancer heart disease.
Men lose the Y chromosome, while women’s blood cells may also lose an X chromosome. Women do not have the Y chromosome, so the loss of the Y chromosome is not necessarily due to adverse health consequences, but rather to DNA replication errors, which are signs that human DNA errors accumulate to a certain extent.
The Y chromosome is the smallest chromosome and probably the most valuable.