Eggs get old. This is old news and it’s why many an eyebrow is raised at the idea of a woman leaving childbearing to the post-35-years ‘danger zone’ of advanced maternal age. But ageing isn’t just something that affects a woman and her eggs. Men may be able to keep churning out sperm well into their dotage, but research is revealing that quality can suffer. As a man ages, the number of new — or ‘de novo‘ — mutations introduced into his sperm increases. The result is what’s known as the paternal age effect, where certain conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia, are more common in children of older men.
Published by Dyani Lewis
I am a freelance science journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve written on a variety of topics, but I’m naturally drawn to evolutionary biology, medicine and microbes of all persuasions. My work has been published by Science, Nature Medicine, ABC Health & Wellbeing, Cosmos, The Conversation, Australasian Science Magazine and others. I’ve also guest blogged for United Academics Magazine. For two years running, I have had articles selected for inclusion in The Best Australian Science Writing (2014 and 2015), published by NewSouth Books. I am a regular co-host on Triple R’s Einstein-a-Go-Go science radio show and have hosted and produced science episodes for Up Close, the University of Melbourne’s podcast. I’ve also written and recorded for ABC Radio National’s Ockham’s Razor. I have a PhD in plant genetics, but I’m happy to have ditched the pipette and labcoat to get out and snoop around the scientific terrain being explored by others. I have a Masters in Journalism/Professional Writing to help me share what I find. I occasionally tweet @dyanilewis. View all posts by Dyani Lewis