Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

furiousmadgeorge via Flickr
age matters

Children of older fathers have increased chances of autism, schizophrenia

A study shows a 70-year-old man will pass on eight times as many genetic mutations to his child than a 20-year-old.

A NEW STUDY found that older men may be more likely to father children who develop autism or schizophrenia than young dads.

The study, published in Nature, found that men fathering children in their thirties and forties could be increasing the chances that their children will develop diseases linked to new mutations.

Kári Stefánsson, lead author of the article, said the older a man is when he fathers a child, the more likely he is to pass on mutations and so the greater the chances that one of them will be harmful.

Previous research had already shown that fathers were more likely to pass on genetic mutations than mothers because sperm are made throughout a man’s lifetime while women are born with their lifelong supply of egg cells.

The study found that men pass on nearly four times as many mutations as women to their children with fathers’ ages accounting for nearly all of the difference in the number of mutations passed on.

Stefánsson’s research team estimates a 36-year-old will pass on twice as many mutations to his child as a man of 20 while a 70-year-old will pass on eight times as many.

Most mutations are harmless but the research team have linked to conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. While the study does not prove outright that older men are more likely to pass on dangerous mutations to their children, Stefánsson said that is the strong implication.

Read: Study shows males exposed to chronic stress have anxious daughters>

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
7
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.