Sex Differences: A Resultant of an Evolutionary Pressure?

Cell Metab. 2017 Mar 7;25(3):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.01.006. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Spurred by current research policy, we are witnessing a significant growth in the number of studies that observe and describe sexual diversities in human physiology and sex prevalence in a large number of pathologies. Yet we are far from the comprehension of the mechanisms underpinning these differences, which are the result of a long evolutionary history. This Essay is meant to underline female reproductive function as a driver for the positive selection of the specific physiological features that explain male and female differential susceptibility to diseases and metabolic disturbances, in particular. A clear understanding of the causes underlying sexual dimorphisms in the physio-pathology is crucial for precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Reproduction
  • Sex Characteristics*