NewsEvolutionary Biology

Males Mutate More, Bird Study Shows

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Science  03 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5335, pp. 34
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5335.34

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For the last 90 years, geneticists have noted that children of older fathers tend to suffer more from genetic diseases, the standard explanation being that because sperm-producing cells divide throughout males' lifetimes, there are many more opportunities for mistakes to occur as the DNA copies itself than in egg cells. The notion has been hard to prove directly, but in this month's issue of Nature Genetics, a pair of Swedish researchers present evidence from studies in birds that show that mutation rates really are higher in males.