A study led by an Indian biologist has seemed to found out what causes menopause in women, and they have narrowed it down to men.
Rama Singh, an evolutionary geneticist, backed by computer models developed by colleagues Jonathan Stone and Richard Morton, has determined that menopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection – the result of its effects having become relaxed in older women.
Over time, human males have shown a preference for younger women in selecting mates, stacking the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women, the researchers have found.
“In a sense it is like ageing, but it is different because it is an all-or-nothing process that has been accelerated because of preferential mating,” Singh, a professor in McMaster’s Department of Biology whose research specialties include the evolution of human diversity, said.
While conventional thinking has held that menopause prevents older women from continuing to reproduce, in fact, the researchers’ new theory says it is the lack of reproduction that has given rise to menopause.
The research is published online in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology.