Parental age ups rate of new mutations passed to children
Men and women both transmit an increasing number of new mutations to their children as they age, according to a study published today in Nature.
The finding is based on an analysis of whole genomes from nearly 5,000 people. The increase in these ‘de novo’ mutations may explain why older parents are more likely to have a child with a condition such as autism.
Men accumulate de novo mutations four times faster than women, the researchers found. However, in about 10 percent of the genome, mutations accumulate twice as quickly as elsewhere, and appear at an equal rate in both women and men.
“The majority of the contribution still comes from the father, particularly when the father is in an older age range,” says lead investigator Kári Stefánsson, chief executive of deCODE Genetics. “But the mutation rate is not equal across the genome, so we have to make sure we do not generalize too much.”
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- 20th September 2017