One of the features of evolution is that once we have passed the age when we can have and raise children to a point where they can survive on their own and go on to have children, we have played our part in the process and have become redundant, evolutionarily speaking. Although our own bodies start to decay, this has no biological effect on our children.
Of course, thanks to science, we are now living much longer and have children at much older ages. People have long been aware that the danger of genetic risks to babies increases with the mother’s age. Older men who father children with women much younger than them were thought not to increase the risks of things like schizophrenia and autism.
But a new study says that men accumulate increased genetic mutations with age and can pass those on to their children too. “By the time a man reached the age of 40, his offspring had on average 65 random mutations that traced back to the paternal genetic material—that’s 260% more mutations than a 20-year-old dad would, on average, give to his children.” This research is significant since the average paternal age is increasing.
The study involved 78 family groups of a woman, man, and a child, many of whom had mental disorders. From the child’s DNA, they were able to see if the genetic mutation came from the mother or the father.
You can read the paper here.