Autism Risk Rises With Fathers’ Age
Older fathers pass on more new genetic mutations to their children than younger fathers, increasing their children’s risk of autism, schizophrenia and other diseases, new research shows. While advanced maternal age is a major cause behind rare chromosomal problems such as Down syndrome in babies, the latest findings add to growing evidence suggesting that at conception it is the father’s age— rather than the mother’s—that is the main factor behind the passing of new hereditary mutations to children. The research was based on a genetic analysis of 78 Icelandic families with offspring who had a diagnosis of autism or schizophrenia. The data was published in the journal Nature.