Older Dads Pass On Genetic Risks

Fathers of a certain age can pass along more than love and wisdom to their offspring: Researchers have concluded that they also run the risk of passing along more genetic mutations, elevating the risk of autism and schizophrenia in their children.

The researchers noted that while most genetic mutations are harmless, the age at which a father sires a child determines how many such mutations they pass along. “The more mutations we pass on the more likely that one of them is going to be deleterious,” one of the Icelandic genetic researchers involved in the study told the journal, Nature, which reported the findings.

One potential implication of the study is its correlation with the reported rise of cases of autism, which has already been associated through research with advanced paternal age.