Sex Can Help Eliminate Disease

Sex is good for you and great for your progeny.  The act of procreating helps human beings battle disease by eliminating DNA mutations that cause serious illnesses.

And it’s all about genetic recombination.

Sex Can Help Eliminate Disease

Sex can eliminate a disease-causing genes, but it can take hundreds of generations.

Researchers at the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre in Montreal found that some parts of the human genome (the complete set of genes in an organism) recombine faster the others.  The parts that combine the slowest typically carry the most disease-enabling mutations.

Ok, here’s the wild part, since the disease-enabling mutations take such a long time to recombine, the genetic mutations actually get worse.  In fact, these genetic mutations will build up from generation to generation.

Eventually, thanks to sex and procreation, the genes carrying the bad mutations will recombine into a new gene; free of the bad mutations.

The bad news: the process can take hundreds of generations.

The upside: now that scientists have identified which areas to look in the human genome, researchers will be able to more quickly discover and identify mutations connected with specific diseases.

“This discovery gives us a better understanding of how we, as humans, become more or less at risk of developing or contracting diseases,” said Dr. Awadalla, lead researcher for the study.

[UdeM Nouvelles]

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