How a father’s age impacts his children

Being an older father at the time of conception could have some benefits according to one study

How a father's age impacts his children

Source: Best Health Magazine, November 2012

If your dad was in his late 30s to early 50s when you were conceived, it could impact your lifespan’in a good way. According to researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois, the children of fathers in that age range have longer telomeres (the repeating DNA sequences at the ends of chromo­somes, which protect genes from degeneration). These longer telomeres seem to help promote slower aging.

While this study shows there are some longevity benefits to offspring of these older dads, another study has found evidence to support the claim that older fathers are more likely than younger fathers to pass on genetic mutations that could lead to autism or schizophrenia. According to that study, published in the August online issue of the journal Nature, a 20-year-old dad passes on an average of 25 de novo’or new’mutations, while a 40-year-old father passes on 65. Every year older that a father is at the time of his child’s conception results in an increase of approximately two mutations.

It’s important to note, though, that these new mutations aren’t the only causes of the two conditions. In autism, for example, at least half of the risk is believed to be due to inherited genes, and it may also be caused
by environmental exposures.

This article was originally titled "Kids of older dads may live longer" in the November 2012 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!