Age of Fathers Linked to Autism Incidence

A study has been released suggesting that the age of a child’s father was “the only important thing” when considering the likelihood of a genetic change that could be responsible for increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders or schizophrenia. To be more clear, as a man increases in age he also increases the likelihood that his genes will not make exact copies of themselves anymore (during meiosis, for those people who remember sixth grade biology). This creates genetic mutations that are present in almost everyone- the issue is which mutation occurs. While some may influence physical features, others may never be ‘activated’ (expressed), and still others are now thought to influence the risk of developmental disorders. Again (see post on causation versus correlation), this does not guarantee a developmental disorder, but it does increase the odds that a mutation may be present that could influence the child’s development. Although some may feel this, again, as a way to blame parents for a challenging diagnosis, the truth is that having children is always something of a risk and genetics are based on probability. Some researchers are more concerned that several generations from now, the gene pool will be dramatically influenced by those who did not develop a diagnosis, but only carried mutated genetic material. This creates outcomes far more vast and creates concerns of future genetic modification practices and regulations.

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One Response in another blog/article

  1. […] the idea of genetic mutations being in play for autism to develop has been regularly suggested, isolating which genes specifically impact the disorder has been a challenge. Researchers recently […]

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