Scientists from the McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins may have discovered why a rare genetic disease is more common in children born to older fathers. The disease, Apert syndrome, leads to webbed fingers and early fusion of the skull bones and must be corrected by surgery.
While Apert syndrome itself affects only 1 in 160,000 births, the scientists believe their findings could extend to many of the 20 or so other genetic conditions similarly linked to older fathers. The researchers are scheduled to present their findings Oct. 17 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Human Genetics in Baltimore.
"It makes sense that the mutations causing these diseases would occur more frequently in older men, and indeed thats what we saw for Apert syndrome," says Ethylin Jabs, M.D., director of the Center for Craniofacial Development and Disorders at Johns Hopkins.
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