Castration could help men live longer, new sheep study suggests

A study has a suggested new way that would allow men to live longer- castration.

It is a well established fact that women tend to live longer than men. Some research has suggested that the main cause of this is the genetic and hormonal differences between the genders that reduce the risk of heart diseases in women, among other differences.

This contrast between men and women is also observed in sheep, as the female ewes tend to live longer than the male rams.

A study of sheep led by University of Otago researchers in New Zealand found that males that have been castrated tend to live longer Rams that were castrated may live as much as 60% longer than their intact counterparts.

This study may also work for human males as well.

The researchers say that this happened due to the delaying of ageing of their DNA, as they found that the DNA of castrated males age at a similar pace to that of ewes.

This study could be incredibly useful to farmers as they can use the same methods to tell which sheep would live longer and be more productive.

To understand how DNA ages, the researchers, led by epigeneticist Victoria Sugrue of the University of Otago, New Zealand created an epigenetic clock for the sheep, which would look at the presence of certain indicators like methyl groups in the animal to determine it's age.

Looking at these clocks, they found that castrated sheep, or 'wethers', as they are referred to by farmers, have epigenetic clocks that tick slower than intact rams.

"We developed a way to measure biological age in a broad range of mammals,' added paper author and the inventor of the epigenetic clock Steve Horvath of the University of California, Los Angeles.

"We have looked at over 200 species so far and discovered surprising commonality in how animals age.

"But the sheep study was unique in that it specifically isolated the effects of male hormones on ageing."

This method of using epigenetic clocks may also be used to determine what meat sold in supermarkets as "lamb" is actually mutton.

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