Kenneth Walsh, PhD, Interviewed by CNN About DNA Sequence Analysis of the Y Chromosome

Kenneth Walsh, PhD

Professor Kenneth Walsh, PhD, in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, provided commentary to CNN on the report of the first full DNA sequence analysis of the Y chromosome. Due to its complex structure, new technological advances were required to decipher the DNA structure of the male “sex chromosome.” Females typically have two X chromosomes, whereas males typically have a single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome. In this interview Dr. Walsh discussed that men can lose a fraction of their Y chromosomes. The loss of the Y chromosome occurs with age, and it is the most prevalent acquired mutation in the population occurring in approximately 40% of males by age 70. Work in Dr. Walsh’s lab and other labs have documented that the loss of the Y chromosome can contribute to age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and this can account for over half of the six year difference in lifespans between males and females. He explained that having a better understanding of the Y chromosome will provide a roadmap for identifying the specific genetic regions that are involved in these disease processes.

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