Will Climate Change Affect Male-To-Female Birth Ratio?

Global warming is a very real problem that has the potential to change our world in ways we can’t even fathom.  For example, the latest research suggests that global warming’s newest threat might affect humans at a cellular. Literally, the most recent data suggests that climate change will alter the birth rate of male and female newborns.  Most notably, experts say that more boys will be born in places with higher temperatures while more females will be born in places that experience other types of extreme environmental changes. These changes will come as a result or consequence of global warming, like wildfire or drought. 

The Japanese study found a direct link between notable temperature fluctuation and an extreme fluctuation in male-to-female sex ration, at birth.  It turns out, the male gamete is more quite vulnerable to external stress factors according to lead study author Dr. Misao Fukuda, who is the founder of the M&K Health Institute, in Hyogo. 

For the study, Fukuda’s team looked at births in those area hit by environmental events that resulted in extreme stress. Consider, for example the Hyogo Prefecture following the 1995 Kobe earthquake or Tohoku after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake (which also led to the Fukushima Daichii power plant nuclear disaster) or the Kumamoto Prefecture after the earthquakes in 2016. 

The study showed that nine months after these disasters males birth proportion fell by as much as 14 percent over the year before. 

Now, scientists hold the theory that sex ratio is equal at the moment of conception.  Fresh Pond Research president and senior research scientists Steven Orzack comments, however, that the majority of human conceptions die during the gestation period and this is the primary cause of sex imbalance at birth. He notes, “Overall, more females die during pregnancy than do males. So that’s why there’s an excess number of males at birth.”

Similarly University of California (Berkeley) professor in the school of public health, Ray Catalano, explains that natural selection in utero is the definitely the reason for gestational death. Because of maternal biology, some in utero conceptions are more prone to spontaneous abortion than others.  Factors that filter some embryos through include things like fetal chromosome or genetic abnormality or how the mother responds to environmental stress. 

He comments, “For every society, for every year, the human being most likely to die [prematurely] is male infants. And that’s true for every society that we have data for.”  Of course, we still do not quite understand the reason for this but scientists actually believe that boys are biologically weaker at conception and that makes them more susceptible to disease and even premature death. 

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