Researchers found a link between a fathers age and lifestyle can lead to lifelong physical and mental problems in his children as well as future generations.
Researchers conducted a review of so-called epigenetic environmental effects that alter the activity of genes passed on by men.
New research, published in the American Journal of Stem Cells, found a host of examples where a father’s age, lifestyle and experience can lead to problems in his children, reports The Mirror.
Dads who are older when conceiving, for instance, were linked with raised rates of schizophrenia, autism and birth defects.
Paternal obesity was linked to enlarged fat cells, metabolic changes, diabetes and a propensity to put on weight, and an increased risk of brain cancer.
Fathers affected by stress passed on a susceptibility to defective behavioural traits.
US senior investigator Dr Joanna Kitlinska, from Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington DC, said: “We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring.
“But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers. His lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function.
“In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.”
Newborn babies diagnosed with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) – a wide range of problems normally associated with drinking during pregnancy – even though their mothers had never touched alcohol.
Dr Kitlinska said: “Up to 75 per cent of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that pre-conceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring.”
So it’s not all my fault? PHEW.
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