Sex Differences

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Males and females of the same animal species often exhibit different characteristic traits that enable us to tell them apart. In mammals, one of the most common sex biased traits is size, with males typically being larger than females. This is also true in humans: Men are, on average, 5 inches taller than women. However, biological differences among males and females are not limited to physical traits such as height. They are also common in disease. For example, women are much more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, while men are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. The bases of these crucial disparities are often unclear. Follow researchers as they explore how biological sex differences affect the underlying causes of disease, leading to widespread implications for both medical research and treatment.



Sex differences in health & disease: reading genomes differently

The differences between the sexes extend down to our cells. Biomedical research and medical teaching and practice, however, often overlook the ways male and female cells, tissues and organs differ.


Sex differences in height: study shows functional effect of conserved sex-based gene expression 

Whitehead Institute Director David Page discusses how the new findings could guide research into why certain conditions are more common in one sex than another, with the hope of ultimately informing management or treatment for those conditions.

Read about the Research

New research shows how epigenetics -- changes to DNA sequences based on external factors -- can cause cancer to run in a family.

How do sex cells get their start? This protein offers a clue -- the molecule initiates meiosis by activating and amplifying a network of thousands of genes.

Researchers find differences in gene expression between males and females throughout the body in humans and other mammals, including ones that contribute to the average height difference between the sexes