Maternal RhD heterozygous genotype is associated with male biased secondary sex ratio

Kaňková Š., Flegr J., Toman J., Calda P. 2020: Maternal RhD heterozygous genotype is associated with male biased secondary sex ratio. Early Human Development, 140: 104864. DOI: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2019.104864

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Abstract

Background
Previous studies suggest that RhD positive heterozygotes express better health status than RhD positive homozygotes and especially RhD negative subjects. This also applies to pregnant women. According to the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, women in better physical condition should have more sons.

Aim
To test the hypothesis that RhD positive heterozygous mothers have a male-skewed sex ratio.

Study design
Cross-sectional study. The data was analysed using Chi-Square test for all women, separately for RhD positive and RhD negative women, and separately for primiparous and multiparous women. The effects of maternal weight as a continuous predictor and the RhD phenotype of newborn as a categorical predictor of newborn sex were evaluated by the generalized linear model (GLZ) separately for RhD positive and RhD negative women using binomial distribution and logit link function.

Outcome measures
Clinical records comprised maternal weight before pregnancy, number of previous deliveries, sex of the newborn, maternal RhD phenotype, and RhD phenotype of the newborn.

Subjects
We analysed data from 5655 women who gave birth between 2008 and 2012 in General University Hospital in Prague.

Results
Secondary sex ratio was significantly higher (P = 0.028) in RhD positive mothers who had RhD negative newborns, i.e., in heterozygotes (SR = 1.23), than in RhD positive mothers who had RhD positive newborns, i.e., in a mixed population of heterozygotes and homozygotes (SR = 1.00), especially in primiparous women (P = 0.013; SR = 1.37 and 0.99 resp.).

Conclusion
The sex ratio at birth was significantly higher in RhD positive mothers who had RhD negative newborns than in RhD positive mothers who had RhD positive newborns.

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