Children and even grandchildren of men who had children later in life might enjoy genetic benefits that are life extending, including the ability of having children later in life. Northwestern University researchers believe it is due to an unusually quick adaptation that telomeres, which are DNA found at the tips of chromosomes, lengthened and that is thought to promote longer healthy aging.
The study analyzed 1,779 Filipino adults’ DNA and that of their mothers. The researchers found the children of fathers who were older not only inherited longer telomeres, but their effect of longer healthier lives is cumulative across generations.
Researchers said they did not advise the men to have children at a later age, as other prior studies have shown that by having children later in life they risk passing on mutations of genes that might cause a miscarriage or other ailments.
Christopher Kuzawa, one of the co-authors of the study said additional research is necessary to determine if the telomeres, which had been inherited from fathers who were older reduce the number of health problems and other problems that come, as one grows older.
Kuzawa said that based upon the findings in the study, researchers predicted that it will in fact be the case that the longer telomeres help with health problems later in life, but that has to be addressed in other studies in the future.
The new study was published in a June issue of the National Academy of Sciences.