Sex-Specific Phenotypic Plasticity as a Complex Reaction of Human Organism to Different Environmental Conditions
Complex anthropological investigations of modern students were carried out in the three big cities of Russian Federation (Samara, Arkhangelsk, Saransk), as well as in the villages of Mordovia. The program of morphofunctional investigation included body characteristics, body mass components (evaluated with the bioelectrical impedance analyzer “Medass-1”), physiological characteristics of cardiovascular and respiratory systems, right hand grip strength (dynamometry). To evaluate the level of sexual dimorphism, coefficient of sexual dimorphism (CSD) was used in this study. The total number of the studied subjects was 476 young women and 375 young men, from 17 to 23 years old. The results of ANOVA analyses show the presence of non-random variations for the majority of studied characteristics in the examined groups. On this basis, it is possible to consider that different environmental conditions exert significant influence on human organism, which is the core of the adaptation process. The largest distance separates the groups from the city of Saransk and Mordovian villages. It shows that the impact of social and environmental factors for rural and urban inhabitants is much larger as compared to ecological ones, e.g., latitude of the location. Comparison of the CSD values in all groups showed that the degree of adaptation potentials is considerably different in males and females for many characteristics. Thus, for body mass components, characteristics of respiratory system, height and BMI, males are more sensitive to environmental influences. For the cardiovascular system traits, the degree of fat tissue development and body mass, the strength of adaptation changes is practically equal in men and women, with slight advantages in men.