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Fathers Pass Along More Mutations As They Age

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the old-copies dept.

Biotech 131

ananyo writes "In the 1930s, the pioneering geneticist J. B. S. Haldane noticed a peculiar inheritance pattern in families with long histories of haemophilia. The faulty mutation responsible for the blood-clotting disorder tended to arise on the X chromosomes that fathers passed to their daughters, rather than on those that mothers passed down. Haldane subsequently proposed that children inherit more mutations from their fathers than their mothers, although he acknowledged that 'it is difficult to see how this could be proved or disproved for many years to come.' That year has finally arrived: whole-genome sequencing of dozens of Icelandic families has at last provided the evidence that eluded Haldane. Moreover, the study, published in Nature, finds that the age at which a father sires children determines how many mutations those offspring inherit. By starting families in their thirties, forties and beyond, men could be increasing the chances that their children will develop autism, schizophrenia and other diseases often linked to new mutations (abstract)."

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131 comments

So... (4, Interesting)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107059)

I just need to jerk off and store my sperm in the freezer at the age of 20? But then isn't mutation the key to natural evolution?

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107107)

But then isn't mutation the key to natural evolution?

Mutation and lots and lots and lots of trial and error, frequently with unpleasant consequences for the errors...

Re:So... (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110979)

If you are still able to have children at such an old age you have the luxury of passing mutations to children. Think of your first ones fathered at a young age as survival of the species and the ones as you are older as way of branching out. This plays out with the order children.. typically the eldest are more responsible and the younger ones more reckless and exploratory.

Re:So... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112691)

"Mutation and lots and lots and lots of trial and error, frequently with unpleasant consequences for the errors..."

Nobody said evolution was free.

But at the same time, then, thank Grid for the elder fathers. Without them we probably wouldn't evolve.

Re:So... (3, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107115)

Yeah, it's old news to me that the age of the father matters but what I know since earlier is that the telomere count increased in male sex cells and that those was inherited by the offspring which in return might get a chance in living longer.

Or you could argue that maybe not because they got worse protection against cancer.

But seriously. It make sense in an evolutionary way now when I think about it:

If the father has managed to live for long there's a chance his genes are better than a father not as old, by increasing the possibly life length of his offspring the offspring got a better chance of spreading those good genes further.

I hope I remember the telomere part correctly. If nothing else the number of mutations was mentioned to and yes, some will be bad and some will be good but without mutation no evolution and hopefully nature will in a long term perspective manage to pick the good stuff out from the bad stuff. It may not be good for the offspring but good for the future of the species.

The old mention of mutations and telomeres if I don't remember all of it incorrectly was most likely posted on Slashdot to. But maybe two years ago or so.

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107137)

Right now though, surviving doesn't mean much in terms of quality of life or of beneficial mutations. We can keep sick and diseased people alive for longer, we fix ugly people with braces and plastic surgery, etc.. selection pressures are changing in our society, and it's difficult to think of the change of direction as a good one for the future generations. At least we are coming to understand genetics better, and therefore may be able to sort out some of these issues anyway..

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107195)

While we can keep sick people alive for longer, if they are so sick that they need to be artificially kept alive, they tend not to have any more offspring. So from an evolutionary point of view, they are effectively dead.

Re:So... (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107709)

You're saying that for example people with diabetes or other special dietary requirements don't regularly have offspring? There are lots of life threatening problems that aren't visible or socially stigmatic these days.

Re:So... (1)

ppanon (16583) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112719)

True, but at least one of your choices is a poor one. Type II diabetes, the most common one these days, is primarily due to dietary causes, not genetic ones. As for special dietary requirements, celiac/gluten free has a genetic component but many others are suspected to be environmentally caused.

Re:So... (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107215)

As i understand the issue, a mutation that would have been deadly in the past can now sometimes be "fixed" in some way or another, and the defective gene is thus allowed to spread. I get why this is bad if suddenly society collapses and the treatment is no longer available, or at least bad for the carriers of that particular gene. But in the case where the world goes on and the treatment remains available, wouldn't the defective genes offer new combinations to make new mutations from that won't all be bad? And these combinations would not be available if the defective gene was not carried forward? In essence any mutation is just a change in the pairing of the original copy of a genome right?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41108733)

Right now though, surviving doesn't mean much in terms of quality of life or of beneficial mutations. We can keep sick and diseased people alive for longer, we fix ugly people with braces and plastic surgery, etc.. selection pressures are changing in our society, and it's difficult to think of the change of direction as a good one for the future generations. At least we are coming to understand genetics better, and therefore may be able to sort out some of these issues anyway..

Good health and natural good looks saves you money so you can spend it rearing more offspring. However, if it is the opposite - your dealt hand of genes is lacking but you still get on top and pay to be fixed, it means you have very important and very appreciated feat - intelligence (a.k.a. "wealth"), so your other shortcomings are generally forgiven. Even if your kids are to turn out feeble and ugly but smart, with your and their own money they will compensate (and overcompensate), so your potential reproductive mate doesn't really mind.

Re:So... (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109245)

Maybe in the US. Here we have national healthcare.

I wouldn't tie in intelligence intrinsically with wages, but I suppose there must be some kind of correlation in general. To make the really big bucks though, I think you have to be more sociopathic than intelligent!

Re:So... (4, Informative)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110829)

I read the studies and this really isn't that big a deal. For instance, the chance of autism is increased by 20-30% but there is still only a 2% chance of actually having autism appear. So, effectively there is a 0.6% (at most) additional chance that autism will develop in a child whose father is over 40. Autism is an especially hot topic right now due to the increase in proper diagnosis and therefore the increase in documented cases over recent years. This isn't due to more new babies being born with autism, but that they are better at diagnosing it and not thinking it's something else. The chances are still more-or-less the same.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107143)

This is why we should be pushing teenagers to have children.

Let the grandparents raise the children (1)

everydayotherday (1291642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41111507)

This is why we should be pushing teenagers to have children.

Absolutely. We need to encourage our children to have children at about 16, and and have us raise them. Then, when they are 32, and actually ready to raise children, they can have their children do the same.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107311)

Better living through chemistry; save your 20 year old sperm, then eat a bunch of LSD over a couple years and save a sample of that as well. My findings show the LSD babies to be far superior in every facet of existence. Best upgrade you can do without glandscaping.
Now if you can just keep your 10 year old from disrupting his Calculus class or bothering the prof. to go pee every 15 min....

Re:So... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108207)

I just need to jerk off and store my sperm in the freezer at the age of 20?

From your profile picture, I think it would be better if you just put it on toast and fed it to your dog.

Thank you for clearing this up for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41112257)

From your profile picture, I think it would be better if you just put it on toast and fed it to your dog.

Insults based on idiosyncratic morphological characteristics of an individual: edgy, daring, expressing dominance.

Insults based on shared haplogroup/ethnic morphological characteristics of an individual: crass, atavistic, symptom of diminished intellect.

I presume you advocate this double standard based on your history. Thanks for clearing that up for me through your object lesson!

Re:Thank you for clearing this up for me... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112813)

Insults based on idiosyncra...

It's a joke, dummy. There are no profile pictures on Slashdot.

Re:So... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109907)

I just need to jerk off and store my sperm in the freezer at the age of 20? But then isn't mutation the key to natural evolution?

In part. Genetic drift is as important as mutation, if not more, and at least it does not lead to damaged offsprings. You probably don't need that many mutations to keep evolution going. (And there are other mechanisms causing genetic diversity as well.)

Re:So... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110027)

I just need to jerk off and store my sperm in the freezer at the age of 20?

Yes, but you have to store them in liquid nitrogen to keep them viable.

This kind of bolsters that evo-psych theory (5, Informative)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107067)

It meshes with the theory that women choose older men as partners because they are in a better position to care for offspring, but will try to have affairs with younger, sexier men. A man's sperm is separate from his ability to care for a child I suppose.

Cue hundreds of slashdot commenters with some vein of "She's been cheating on me with the gardener I just KNOW it!"

Well there is research that shows that women are attracted to different men when they're ovulating than they are when they're not. Link here [discovery.com]

Or maybe... (2)

OliWarner (1529079) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107073)

... They'll pass on super-powers!

But seriously, who thought that leaving something like fathering a child would lead to fewer or the same number of mutations? Everybody who's everybody knows age and telomere shortening leads to a higher rate of mutation... That's why if we didn't otherwise get killed, wear out or otherwise malfunction, we'd eventually die from all the cancer.

Re:Or maybe... (1)

guises (2423402) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109087)

Well I'm surprised about the father/mother relation. It was my understanding that birth defects increase dramatically with the age of the mother, and less so with the age of the father. Birth defect does not necessarily mean mutation, but this result still surprises me.

Mutations can be GOOD things (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110147)

Mutations are what provide "fuel" for evolutionary innovation. Sure, they more often cause problems than "good", but without mutations fish would never walk on land, apes would never step down from trees, and that mole on the back of my neck would never grow an eye, allowing me to see people sneaking up on me in basketball.

Okay, I made up the last one, but the point is that mutations are a trade-off, and perhaps necessary for the long-term survival of humanity. The problems an individual faces by being nature's Guinea Pig can be unpleasant, but view it as "taking one for the team".

Cuts Both Ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107101)

For the sake of balance:
Doctors have warned women that concieving later in life carries significant health risks. [www.nhs.uk]
The first eggs out the box are always the freshest.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107133)

hmm, your summery about the eggs does not make sense. According to this arcticle:
-Women must choose younger biological fathers.
-The health risk are not as much a problem of the eggs, but mainly in the pregnancy.

Also i do not like the summary about autism, schizophrenia in such articles. Autism is not a disease where you have it or not have it, it is a spectrum, where the intelligent ligher cases might never be diagnosed with autism, and the heavy case might always be there.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107305)

Aspie alert!

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107373)

Sexually speaking, guys peak at age 17, producing the most sperm. Women peak at 37.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107531)

Women produce sperm? What kind of nonsense is that, neckbeard?

Re:Cuts Both Ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41108065)

It means you've already peaked, boy. It's all downhill from here, for you. Bwa-ha-ha.... I find your lack of faith, ...disturbing...

Re:Cuts Both Ways (4, Insightful)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108381)

Although women's sex drive (supposedly) increase through late 30's, fertility does not. All that worry in your 20's about your girlfriend getting pregnant turn into worries in your 30's that your wife won't get pregnant.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (0)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110081)

By your thirties you should be wise enough to know that a low stress lifestyle is the key to happiness. Children are stressful, and accordingly parents are consistently less happy than non-parents, despite their assertions to the contrary.

Until you are old and sick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41111597)

And no one is alive anymore who gives a fuck about you.

That can be a pretty stressfull 20-30 last years of your life.

On balance, unless you are insanely wealthy and able to put in place multiple safeguards, children are your best bet to avoid a slow, horrible end.

ironic captcha: abstain

Re:Until you are old and sick. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41111737)

Actually research has shown that even the childless elderly are happier than those with offspring.

Re:Until you are old and sick. (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112241)

That's fine, be happy in your elderly years. When we're old and grey, government end-of-life assistance is bankrupt, and you're hungry, please do not knock on my childrens' doors asking for alms.

Re:Until you are old and sick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41112467)

What makes you think that they will be able to support you? Do your children a favor and get euthanized once you can no longer support yourself. They will have it hard enough and will not need another mouth to feed.

Re:Until you are old and sick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41111955)

And no one is alive anymore who gives a fuck about you.

Maybe if you're a raging asshole.

See, some people - not all, mind you - have these things called 'friends'. Not Facebook(tm) "friends", actual, real life friends. While not without challenge (there are, after all, a large number of raging assholes out there), it's rather easier to have more high quality friends than it is to pump out babies, leaving childless couples with a much larger chance of having people who give proverbial fucks.

children are your best bet to avoid a slow, horrible end

Except there's no viable way to guarantee your hellspawn will not be degenerate poors and/or despise you.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108483)

Apples and oranges. You should compare sperm production to egg viability. Egg viability is best in young women. And as for women somehow sexually peaking in their late thirties, all that deserves is a big belly laugh. Every man knows different.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41110011)

Apples and oranges. You should compare sperm production to egg viability. Egg viability is best in young women. And as for women somehow sexually peaking in their late thirties, all that deserves is a big belly laugh. Every man knows different.

Usually in the mid-30's women's "clock begins to tick", the countdown timer to menopause. This often leads to a sudden final surge in sexual activity, a last ditch effort to reproduce before the chance is gone forever. Thus, the commonly held theory that women's sexual performance peaks in their mid-30's... in all actuality it tends to peak in the early to mid 20's.

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112267)

And as for women somehow sexually peaking in their late thirties, all that deserves is a big belly laugh. Every man knows different.

As a man who's a decade shy of that age, I'm curious why it deserves a big laugh. When do women peak, sexually?

Re:Cuts Both Ways (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110899)

Sexually speaking, guys peak at age 17, producing the most sperm. Women peak at 37.

A woman trying to have children at 32 years of age or older is monstrously more likely to have complications.
Late teens to early twenties is when both men and women are at their sexual peak.

What you're talking about is the phenomena of middle-aged women getting desperate as they age and their clock ticks out, so they go on a 2 year stint of pounding the mound in every way imaginable as if they were fulfilling some sort of sexual bucket list.

How is this not good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107117)

Maybe with more men having children later in life we will have more mutations. More mutations means more chances to evolve to Homo Novus or whatever the next level is for us.

Re:How is this not good? (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109719)

This, pretty much.

How is this not a good thing? It means more disease and other bad-mutations in the short term.

In the long term, though, it will lead to longer lifespans.

Hardly surprising (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107129)

The testes are towards the outside of the body and vulnerable to all sorts of things, while the ovaries are better protected. Furthermore, sperm is produced over the course of a lifetime, whereas eggs aren't. The end result is that eggs are likely to have the original genetic material of Mom, while the sperm is more likely to have been modified (by radiation, damage from trauma, copying errors, etc) from the original genetic material of Dad.

This seems like a good evolutionary strategy, however it arose: Mom provides a version that has allowed her to survive and reproduce, suggesting a minimum viability, which she passes on to the child. Dad provides a version of an evolutionarily successful human that is modified, allowing the species to improve itself (And if he's lived to old age, he was probably an effective survivor evolutionarily speaking).

Re:Hardly surprising (3, Informative)

miketheanimal (914328) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107321)

Except: A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have (they are not produced over the woman's lifetime). On the other hand sperm are produced more on an as-needed basis. So, there is much more opportunity for problems to arise with eggs (presumably why the chance of having a Down's Syndrome child increases with the mother's age).

Re:Hardly surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107989)

hand sperm

I think you're doing it wrong.

Re:Hardly surprising (2)

Amouth (879122) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108855)

Except: A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have (they are not produced over the woman's lifetime).

There is research suggesting this isn't true.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120229-women-health-ovaries-eggs-reproduction-science/ [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41111013)

Except: A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have (they are not produced over the woman's lifetime).

There is research suggesting this isn't true.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120229-women-health-ovaries-eggs-reproduction-science/ [nationalgeographic.com]

Except this isn't research, it's one researcher with a foregone conclusion simply wishing it to be true.
There is no mechanism for gamete production in human females that have been born.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41110949)

Except: A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have (they are not produced over the woman's lifetime). On the other hand sperm are produced more on an as-needed basis. So, there is much more opportunity for problems to arise with eggs (presumably why the chance of having a Down's Syndrome child increases with the mother's age).

Correct. Older eggs suffer far more damage than older sperm. It was commonly thought for many, many years that sperm age had no consequence. It was proven 5 or 6 years ago that it absolutely does. Then, right on queue, Slashdot has a story about it.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107371)

The testes are towards the outside of the body and vulnerable to all sorts of things, while the ovaries are better protected

Which doesn't have anything to do with genetic damage to the cells within. We already knew that older mothers are more susceptable to passing on genetic mutation as they age, all this research is showing is that men's DNA gets damaged too. Previously we blamed the genetic damage passed on by mothers to the fact that eggs are created in a woman's body before puberty, and slowly released, while men manufacture fresh sperm throughout their lifetimes. But if men are similarly passing on genetic damage as they age, then this theory needs to be rethought. Probably egg cells are no more likely to mutate as they age than any other cell in your body, and cell division of mutated cells produces... mutated cells, so the benefit of manufacturing fresh sperm cells is non-existent from a genetic damage point of view.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107541)

No, not surprising. But even apparently obvious hypotheses should be tested. This one has been. Hooray for science!

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108025)

Absolutely, I just like it when an experimental result matches educated guesses.

Reminds me of my joke about good research: A farmer noticed that his brown horses collectively were eating twice as much as his white horses collectively. After properly researching the subject, he decided to focus on the fact that he had 20 brown horses and only 10 white horses.

By starting families in their thirties, forties... (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107165)

men could be more mature (no need to get in a divorce situation due to a driving urge to mount some other female) and be earning more money, thereby ensuring a more stable and financially sound basis for their household.

that the chance the kid might come out with biological issues is a slight increase. while a younger father has a significantly increased chance to still feel a need to sow the wild oats and not be earning a lot

not that older men can't be broke, and not that older men can't still cheat. but it helps to have all your sexual adventures when you are in your 20s, and not feel the need to do that when you are older. additionally, marrying older means the woman is more mature too, and you are more mature, and so the chance of your marriage lasting is greater because you understand the value of commitment over impulses, you are more interested in settling down, and you can pick the right spouse based on more ephemeral mature qualities rather than the mistakes you can easily make in your 20s and then feel like leaving the person later. all of this is of course better for kids: a stable home of mature parents who earn more money

in other words, this news is a big shrug: "so what." the beneficial factors for having kids in your thirties and forties vastly outweigh the slight genetic risks

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107261)

I was 40 when my son was born, and I can't keep up with the little mutant (though I hear of a special school for kids like him out in Westchester County, NY). There's a reason people have kids in their 20's, it's a physically exhausting challenge.

But yeah, the mature relationship with my wife and stable financial situation are nice. Though I do wish I could stay awake past 8:30 PM.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (0)

miketheanimal (914328) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107335)

40? Pah. I'm 55 and we've just had twins. Sure, its hard. Physically exhausting, nope.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112105)

40? Pah. I'm 55 and we've just had twins. Sure, its hard. Physically exhausting, nope.

Someone's got a Bowflex Body(TM)!

To have more energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41111527)

To have more energy as an adult, look into vitamin D deficiency, iodine deficiency, omega-3 deficiency, and fruit/vegetable/bean phytonutrient deficiency. And of course stay away from refined starch and refined sugar, and food additives etc.. Eating right can also, paradoxically, help your kids be calmer and easier to deal with (as their brains grow better and they are less hyper and cranky).

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107289)

Knowing that something is true isn't the same understanding it scientifically; more knowledge is still useful.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107295)

but it helps to have all your sexual adventures when you are in your 20s, and not feel the need to do that when you are older

shit.

yet another thing I've fucked up in life.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107339)

Have all the sexual adventures you want, I am, I'm just not getting them knocked up.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (2)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107347)

Not to mentation not all mutations are bad. Walking upright was a mutation at one point and I'm pretty glad we got that one :P

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107981)

Walking fractionally more upright than cousin Ugg was a mutation at one point

FTF any creationists reading.

Fuck you cunt, men aren't your slaves. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107355)

Instead of a divorce, how about we just cut off your head when you try to jack us for all we're worth. It's our right to have multiple girls or women, and to have little girls as our own aswell.

The law of deuteronomy agrees.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108383)

The financial benefits of not having kids at all are pretty significant too. Plus, who wants to deal with a teenager when you're 60?

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109275)

I never understood the desire to voluntarily be a genetic and memetic dead end. The emotional and psychological benefits outweigh the costs.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109637)

I never understood why I should care whether I'm a dead end or not. I'm still dead either way.

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108411)

Seems more like the process of "maturation" is suspended as men become confirmed bachelors and women become confirmed sluts. Compare your grandparents who married at 20 and the current generation who are more likely to have autistic bastards than settle down and tell me who is more of an "adult".

Re:By starting families in their thirties, forties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41109379)

>and women become confirmed sluts.

WTF? Talk like that will have people thinking you're just another ignorant conservative throwback.

In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107223)

Mutations accumulate over time, news at 11.

There's also a benefit to having an older father (3, Interesting)

Mandrel (765308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107273)

So older men may father more sick children. But they also father longer-lived ones [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:There's also a benefit to having an older fathe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41112417)

Your reply is off topic.

So... (1)

koan (80826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107329)

If we want mutants with super powers all the old men need to get busy with young women, I am totally for this.

Seriously though, I think the operative phrase in the article is "could be"

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107337)

By starting families in their thirties, forties and beyond, men could be increasing the chances that their children will develop autism, schizophrenia and other diseases often linked to new mutation

The link is between when the father sired the particular child, not the age at which he started the whole family. I suppose logically if you don't start until you're say 50 then ALL your children are at greater risk. But if you sire your first child at the age of 14 and then have another 3 when you're in your fifities than those last three don't have a lower risk due to you starting your family when young.

Daughters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107437)

Well, it has been known that older men will father more daughters than sons because the male embryos are more delicate and more prone to be rejected by the mother's body than female embryos. A case in point, Tony Randall fathered a daughter at age 76 and another at age 77. It's never too late.

I discussed this with my wife (2)

titanium93 (839011) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107471)

I said "So, since I was about 40 when our daughter was born, are you going to start blaming me for her 'behavioral issues"? Her response was, "What do you mean 'Start', I already DO!"

One generation vs two (1)

Pav (4298) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107551)

Sooo... are the amount of mutations constant over time eg. compare a 40yr old father vs a 40yr old grandfather whos son reproduces at 20.

Re:One generation vs two (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112335)

As men, there's nothing to say that we can't have 20, 40, hell even 100 children. I've got cousins from the same uncles who are more widely spaced apart than I am from my own father.

What about... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41107683)

I do not doubt the research that shows that older men pass on more mutations, but is it that simple? Do these older men also have older wives/partners? If so, is it strictly that the sperm of older men is more susceptible to mutation or are the eggs of older women less discriminate and more likely to allow a defective sperm to penetrate and fertilize the egg? In other words, would these mutant sperm been able to fertilize a younger healthier egg?

If I understood you correctly, and I think I did.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41107791)

We need more empirical testing. I, for one, am willing to fertilize a statistically significant number of 18, 24 and 30 year old women for very little compensation.

Re:If I understood you correctly, and I think I di (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41108731)

We need more empirical testing. I, for one, am willing to fertilize a statistically significant number of 18, 24 and 30 year old women for very little compensation.

You can start by me! I'm on the second set of empirical test subjects.

Correlation is not causation (1)

caffiend666 (598633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108117)

The article is rather neutral, but the premise is being misinterpreted. This is comparing the genetic mutations of older fathers, not the genetic mutations of older men relative to their younger days. A man more susceptible to mild genetic abnormalities may be a late bloomer who takes years longer to be comfortable in social and family settings, resulting in him becoming a father later. If a slightly odd duck doesn't manage social situations well until they are later in life, doesn't this mean older fathers would be more likely to pass on genetic mutations? Also, women are typically accepted more in social situations they younger they are, regardless of whether they are slightly different or not. It is much harder for young men then young women, but then the roles reverse. Young women's main problem is keeping people away from them. A clean, polite, well-established older man has a much easier time socially than a similarly positioned and aged woman. I for one am looking forward to being an older man of leisure.

Then again, they seem to have compared against mutations in the children which don't exist in the parents. But did they take multiple genetic readings of the parents, or simply compared the child's readings against the different readings from when the older parent was a child?

I have a son with a 'de novo' mutation (5, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108121)

I was 35 when I conceived my son. He was diagnosed with a 'de novo' (new) mutation in one of the two copies of his MLL2 gene: a single base pair was deleted at position 2272 ("c.2272delG"). This causes half of his MLL2 proteins to be not working resulting in Kabuki Syndrome. He has an academic IQ of around 50, but with some tasks he out smarts everyone I know: he can instantly see who are missing from a certain setting. Saw him walk into his class room, look around, walk to his teacher and when asked by her who were missing, mention the names without hesitating (or looking around) for a second.

Many start late now... (1)

danbuter (2019760) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108263)

This bodes ill for the future. A lot of people are waiting until their thirties until they have kids. I wonder if anyone has done research on whether birth defects are increasing overall?

Re:Many start late now... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112381)

I believe this has been a gaining trend for at least several hundred years in the West, and indeed, likely throughout most societies for most of history: older, dominant males gets the younger, more valuable females.

It'd be hard to do a study on birth defects over time, considering the time scale we're dealing with here. I suspect that mutations are historically more common in the races which adopted a hierarchical sexual pecking order early on.

Half full or half empty (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#41108677)

By starting families in their thirties, forties and beyond, men could be increasing the chances that their children will develop autism, schizophrenia and other diseases often linked to new mutations

But also increasing the chances their children will develop mutant super powers.

Old Grandfather (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109149)

My maternal grandfather was 67 when my mother was born... No joke. He had a reputation as a very "sturdy" individual.

His children have all been very healthy and are all doing fine. The only negative attribute passed on, which endures through the lineage is a propensity for the drink.

So, Nature is Gender Neutral After All! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#41109499)

So, it turns out that Nature is gender neutral. Old mothers have increased risk of passing congenital diseases to their offspring, no we know it's the same for the fathers. I'd say that's not very unexpected, although it's good to have some evidence for that -- this study is a step in the right direction.

no such thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41109779)

there is no such thing as human evolution. We came from Adam and Eve and thats it.

In My Home Town, This Correlation is Obvious (1)

GeekMarine72 (897842) | about a year and a half ago | (#41111297)

I live in a very upscale and rather posh part of California. There is an abnormally high rate of children born with disabilities including M.S. and Down Syndrome. The one obvious correlation is the shockingly obvious tie between the age of the fathers and the children with disabilities. As is the case with many upscale neighborhoods, there is a significant number of men in their 50s and 60s fathering children with women in their late 20s and early 30s.

Though I often voted for something more amusing, such as correlating the genetically influenced disabilities to the permanent impact of sexually transmitted diseases, if only so that Jenny McCartney's child would attest to her having some horrible disease like Syphillis as an offset to her horribly damaging anti-vaccination efforts.

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41111673)

This definitely explains Chris-Chan. XD

My wife is expecting a baby... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41111951)

... this is our first one and I am absolutely terrified of all the possible things that can go wrong. I really think the future should be more Gataca like in the sense that I would feel a lot better if the DNA of our embryo could have been fully sequenced in order to spot any possible issues.

Well, that might explain it (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41112191)

Well, that might explain why the kids of most of the people I've met who waited until their 40s and 50s to have children are all retarded or otherwise 'a bit touched'. But I don't suppose being a spoiled only child helps matters much.

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