Dad's Age May Affect Baby's Intellect

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 12:59 PM

Genetic mutations in male chromosomes, particularly those of older men, may be tied to intellectual disabilities in children, new research suggests.

What’s known as “copy number variations,” including misplaced, missing, inverted, or repeated DNA sequences cause the abnormalities, Health Day News reports.

Researchers noted that while they’ve known older maternal age plays a role in birth defect risk, such as with Down Syndrome, their work shows increased paternal age also is related to risk. But exactly how the genetic mutations occur in men is unclear.

Children with an IQ of less than 70 typically had the mutations. They also tended to have heart defects and other congenital problems. In 70 percent of the cases studied, abnormalities of DNA associated with intellectual disability were passed down by the father.

"In many cases these fathers are, on average, significantly older, by two years, than fathers of children without intellectual disability," study author Jayne Hehir-Kwa, from the department of human genetics at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, tells Health Day News.

To read the complete Health Day News story, Go Here.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 04 October 2011 12:59 PM
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