Posts tagged ‘ageing’

June 13, 2012

Why having an older father helps you live longer.


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Older fathers are said to be more tolerant, affectionate and spend more time with their children.

And it seems they give their offspring another benefit – longer lives.

Scientists say children of older fathers and grandfathers are more likely to live longer.

They found those with older fathers had longer telomeres – tiny ‘caps’ on the ends of chromosomes that protect against the ageing process.

The researchers measured the telomere length of DNA in the blood of 1,779 young Filipino adults and their mothers and determined the ages of the children’s fathers and grandfathers.

They found an individual’s telomeres lengthened not only with their father’s age at their birth but also with their paternal grandfather’s age at their father’s birth.

Each year a man delayed reproduction increased the length of the telomeres. The increase roughly equalled the amount of annual shortening observed in middle-age adults.

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest delayed paternal reproduction could increase their offsprings’ telomere length over time, which could promote long life.

Telomeres have been called the ‘chromosomal clock’ because they seem to be central to biological ageing, with longer telomeres a sign of being biologically younger and healthier.

Professor Chris Kuzawa, an anthropologist at Northwestern University in the United States, said telomeres shorten with time in most cells – but they lengthen in sperm.

A previous study found those with shorter telomeres were three times as likely to die from heart disease.

Professor Kuwaza said: ‘The effect of the age of paternal ancestors on telomere length could allow increases in life expectancy under demographic conditions of low mortality and delayed reproduction.’

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