04/10/2011 12:16 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Older Dads More Likely To Have Kids With Low IQs

Research suggests older dads are more likely to have kids with low IQs PA

New research has found that older dads are the chief source of faulty genes linked to intellectual disability.

A study has found that genetic defects cause mental problems characterised by low IQs, and are associated with chromosomal abnormalities caused by missing, repeated or reshuffled DNA sequences.

Scientists believe the problems happen with older dads because sperm cells continue to divide and renew throughout a man's life, increasing the chances of genetic mistakes. Female egg cells, meanwhile, stop replicating during foetal development in the womb after about 30 generations.

Scientists in the Netherlands investigated the prevalence of copy number variations, or CNVs, among almost 3,500 people with intellectual disabilities, and concluded their data provided 'for the first time convincing evidence that CNVs in ID (intellectual disability) are largely paternal in origin.'

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