Printer Friendly

What do you suppose B-forces make?

What do you suppose B-forces make?

There's an old Air Force myth that says fighter pilots are more likely to sire daughters than sons. The movie "Top Gun' ends before we get to find out, but recent research suggests that the myth may be true.

Bertis Little, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, began to believe the myth after leafing through a war-college yearbook and looking at the ratio of girls to boys among the offspring of Air Force pilots. The preponderance of girls inspired him to initiate a controlled study to identify the cause of the disparity.

That study, recently reported in AVIATION, SPACE AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE (Vol.58, No.7), suggests that the fathering of females may be a consequence of exposure to high G-forces --intense gravitational forces that pilots encounter in high-speed aircraft.

Little found that nontactical pilots--those who fly such planes as transports and heavy bombers with little exposure to G-forces--have approximately equal numbers of sons and daughters. Astronauts, however, had 57 percent females, and tactical pilots had 62 percent females. On average, high-G pilots and astronauts had 10 percent fewer made offspring than did low-G officers.

The study doesn't prove that G-forces are gender determinants, Little says, but "it does suggest an association between the high-G exposure and reduced male to female ratio.'

He is currently doing NASA-sponsored research on the sperm cells of mice that have "flown' at high G in a centrifuge, to see if male and female chromosomes may show different viabilities under such conditions. He notes that no research has been done on the effects of high-speed, high-altitude flight on women.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:exposure to high gravitational forces may influence gender of offspring of air pilots
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 12, 1987
Previous Article:Will tPA force changes in cardiac care?
Next Article:Bugs bite the dust on bitter pill.

Related Articles
Geophysics on the fifth force's trail.
The case against the Air Force.
The fifth force: pulling both ways.
New clues to the fifth force and its source.
Evidence for new force - may be no. 6.
Dead end for a fifth force.
Antimatter takes a free gravitational fall.
Found: memories of gravitational waves.
Gravity's force: chasing an elusive element.
Snowboard superstar. (Physical Science: Newton's Law of Motion).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters