Children with older fathers and grandfathers may genetically be programmed to live longer, US scientists say! As men get older, their DNA code alters and apparently influences a child's life span, the study team concluded after examining the DNA of nearly 2,000 young adults. The science behind longer life Discoveries like this one always come with scientific explanations that laypeople really don't understand. I'm one of them, I'll admit! But news reports about the interesting discovery that children of older fathers say that it has something to do with something called telomeres. Telomeres coat the end of chromosomes, which carry genetic code, and scientists had already found out that these telomeres are linked to life expectancy in some way. As a person ages, the telomeres shorten. Sperm, it seems, is the exception instead of getting shorter, sperm's telomeres get longer with age. DNA is inherited, and the long telomeres go along with it. In this case, it's not just the telomeres found in sperm cells that are longer, but everywhere in the body, scientists found.
In short, older fathers could be doing an awful lot of good for the average lifespan of the human population! "As paternal ancestors delay reproduction, longer telomere length will be passed to offspring, which could allow lifespan to be extended as populations survive to reproduce at older ages," Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, an expert in cellular ageing at Newcastle University. "Very few of the studies that linked telomere length to health in late life have studied the impact, if any, of paternal age. It is still completely unclear whether telomere length at conception (or birth) or rate of telomere loss with age is more important for age-related morbidity and mortality risk in humans." What do you think about these findings? Did you have an older grandfather, and how old is your father now? Are you trying to conceive a baby with a partner who is much older than you, and did this study shed a different light on things?