Journal Article

Male/female ratio in centenarians: a possible role played by population genetic structure

Passarino, G., Calignano, C., Vallone, A., Franceschi, C., Jeune, B., Robine, J.-M., Yashin, A. I., Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., De Benedictis, G.
Experimental Gerontology, 37:10-11, 1283–1289 (2002)


All the demographic surveys on the centenarians have highlighted that females outnumber males. The centenarians' male/female (M/F) ratio reported by most studies ranges between 1:4 and 1:7. A puzzling 1:2 ratio was observed in Calabria, a Southern Italian region. To our knowledge only in Sardinia a similar phenomenon had been previously observed. We have therefore used the data of the Italian Institute of Statistics to figure out the centenarians' M/F ratio in the Italian regions. We found that this ratio gradually decreases from South to North. Such a result is certainly due to many factors. Thus, we have explored the possibility, it is also influenced by the genetic structure of the Italian population. In fact, the distribution of the centenarians' M/F ratio turned out to be significantly correlated with the genetic structure of the Italian population as outlined by the principal component analysis.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.