Male smokers more likely to lose Y chromosomes

smoldering cigarette

Men who smoke cigarettes are more likely than nonsmokers to lose their Y chromosomes, which increases the risk of developing cancer.

Guest post by Nathan Seppa

Male smokers are more likely to lose Y chromosomes in their blood cells than men who have never smoked or those who have kicked the habit. Loss of the Y chromosome has previously been associated with some cancers. The new finding, published December 4 in Science, may help explain why male smokers have a higher risk of some cancers than women who smoke. Whether chromosome Y’s disappearance causes cancer or is simply an indicator of more general chromosomal damage caused by smoking is still unclear.

For more, read SN’s news story “Men who lose Y chromosome have high risk of cancer.”

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