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Trends Genet. 1998 Nov;14(11):446-52.

Sex biases in the mutation rate.

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Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, UK.


Men have more germ-line cell divisions than women. Does this lead to a higher mutation rate in males? Most estimates of the proportion of mutations originating in men come either from direct observation of disease-inducing mutations or from analysis of the relative rate of evolution of sex-linked and autosomal genes in primates. The latter mode of analysis has also been applied to other mammals, birds and files. For unknown reasons, this method produces contradictory results. A majority of estimates using the best direct methods in humans indicate a male bias for point mutations, but the variance in estimates is high. It is unclear how the evolutionary and direct data correspond and a consensus as to the extent of any male bias is not presently possible. While the number of germ-line cell divisions might contribute to differences, this by no means accounts for all of the data.

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