The researchers have now developed computer models that show that the cause of menopause could simply be men's preference for young women. This factor did not select fertility in older women. Thus, mutations could accumulate in the genetic material of humans, which induce infertility in women in advanced age, the scientists explain. According to her computer models, menopause, without the factor of sexual preference of men to young women, would not exist at all: "Like men, they would maintain their reproductive ability throughout their lives, " says Singh. Theoretically, even a reverse scenario would have been possible in the course of evolution: "If women had chosen only young men as partners, this would have led to male infertility from a certain age, " said the evolutionary biologist.
The researchers' new explanatory model makes it clear that biological phenomena such as the climacteric do not always have to serve a purpose. While the preference of men for young women offers them advantages in reproductive success, according to the new hypothesis, menopause would only be a concomitant of this sexual selection and not itself an advantage in the struggle for survival. Whether this really is the case, but remains open. The causes or possible functions of the climacteric can be scientifically difficult to grasp and therefore hardly clarify. Presumably, the supporters of the "grandmother's hypothesis" will not give up and will soon present new evidence for their explanatory model.Rama Singh (McMaster University, Hamilton) et al .: PLoS Comput Biol, doi: 10.1371 / journal.pcbi.1003092 © science.de - Martin Vieweg Display