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Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 21 January 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 3, p. re1
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2004.3.re1]


Dear Old Dad

Rivka L. Glaser, and Ethylin Wang Jabs

The authors are at the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. E-mail: ejabs1{at}

Key Words: paternal age • germ line • base substitution • mutation frequency • spermatogenesis • achondroplasia • Apert syndrome

Abstract: The origin and frequency of spontaneous mutations that occur with age in humans have been a topic of intense discussion. The mechanisms by which spontaneous mutations arise depend on the parental germ line in which a mutation occurs. In general, paternal mutations are more likely than maternal mutations to be base substitutions. This is likely due to the larger number of germ cell divisions in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis. Maternal mutations are more often chromosomal abnormalities. Advanced parental age seems to influence some mutations, although it is not a factor in the creation of others. In this review, we focus on patterns of paternal bias and age dependence of mutations in different genetic disorders, and the various mechanisms by which these mutations arise. We also discuss recent data on age and the frequency of these mutations in the human male germ line and the impact of these data on this field of research.

Citation: R. L. Glaser, E. W. Jabs, Dear Old Dad. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (3), re1 (2004).

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