Offspring of older fathers may live longer: study
A man in Cebu City, in the Philippines, where the study took place. (EA Quinn)
(Medical Xpress) -- If your father and grandfather waited until they were older before reproducing, you might experience life-extending benefits.
Biologists assume that a slow pace of aging requires that the body invest more resources in repairing cells and tissues.
A new Northwestern University study suggests that our bodies might increase these investments to slow the pace of aging if our father and grandfather waited until they were older before having children.
"If your father and grandfather were able to live and reproduce at a later age, this might predict that you yourself live in an environment that is somewhat similar an environment with less accidental deaths or in which men are only able to find a partner at later ages," said Dan T.A. Eisenberg, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern. "In such an environment, investing more in a body capable of reaching these late ages could be an adaptive strategy from an evolutionary perspective."
Christopher W. Kuzawa, co-author of the study, associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern and a faculty fellow at the University's Institute for Policy Research, said the new findings are fascinating.
"If our recent ancestors waited until later in adulthood before they reproduced, perhaps for cultural reasons, it would make sense for our bodies to prepare for something similar by investing the extra resources necessary to maintain healthy functioning at more advanced ages," Kuzawa said.
The study, which was conducted in the Philippines, found that children of older fathers not only inherit longer telomeres, which are DNA found at the ends of chromosomes, but that the association of paternal age with offspring telomere length is cumulative across multiple generations. Shorter telomeres seem to be a cause of ill health that occurs with aging longer telomeres seem to promote slower aging.
It appears that as men delay reproduction, they will pass on longer telomeres to offspring, which may facilitate extension of life span and allow reproducing at older ages.
Eisenberg said he hopes the study will further our understanding of the evolution of aging, why we get old and the ways that we adapt to the environment.
"When we think of adaptation, we tend to think of it happening over hundreds of generations," Eisenberg said. "This study illustrates a means by which much more rapid adaptive genetic changes might occur over just a few generations."
"The idea that information about the environment can be passed on biochemically from one generation to the next is certainly not something new," said M. Geoffrey Hayes, co-author of the study, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern. "But what is quite unique in the case of our telomere study is that we're seeing an association across more than one generation."
The researchers said their study should not be taken as a recommendation that men reproduce at later ages as previous research has shown that older fathers are more likely to pass along harmful mutations to their offspring at conception, which can lead to increased rates of miscarriage and other health issues in offspring.
However, Kuzawa said, "These new findings suggest that there might also be underappreciated benefits to having an older father or grandfather."
And while the findings are fascinating, Kuzawa said they will need to see if they are replicated in other populations.
"We will want to see if the longer telomeres that offspring of older fathers and grandfathers inherit at birth have fewer health problems and ailments as they age," Kuzawa said. "Based upon our findings, we predict that this will be the case, but this is a question to be addressed in future studies."
More information: "Delayed Paternal Age of Reproduction in Humans Is Associated With Longer Telomeres Across Two Generations of Descendants" will publish June 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Provided by Northwestern University
- Are fathers wired to provide offspring care? Testosterone drops steeply after baby arrives, study confirms Sep 12, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Children of older fathers more likely to have bipolar disorder Sep 01, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Study: No link betweem menopause and increased risk of fatal heart Sep 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood adversity may promote cellular aging Mar 16, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Telomere stress reveals insight into ageing Mar 01, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
18 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Trends in Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and smoking explain a significant proportion of the decline of intestinal-type noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma (NCGA) incidence in US men between 1978 and 2008, and are estimated ...
Medical research 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older ...
Medical research 12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at Emory University have identified a protein that stimulates a pair of "orphan receptors" found in the brain, solving a long-standing biological puzzle and possibly leading to future treatments for neurological ...
Medical research 13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
Medical research 13 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (6) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine will study gender differences in how the heart uses and stores fat—its main energy source—and how changes in fat metabolism play ...
Medical research 16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
13 hours ago | 4.2 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
11 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |
An experimental sleeping pill from US drug company Merck is effective at helping people fall and stay asleep, according to reviewers at the US Food and Drug Administration, which could soon approve the new drug.
7 hours ago | 3 / 5 (2) | 0
Activating an enzyme known to play a role in the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction delays the loss of brain cells and preserves cognitive function in mice, according to a study published in the May ...
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may improve a stress-related heart condition in people with stable coronary heart disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Researchers at USC have found that a class of pharmaceuticals can both prevent and treat Alzheimer's Disease in mice.
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |