Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Father's age influences rate of evolution: 90% of new mutations from father, chimpanzee study shows

Date:
June 12, 2014
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
The offspring of chimpanzees inherit 90 percent of new mutations from their father, and just 10 percent from their mother, a finding which demonstrates how mutation differs between humans and our closest living relatives, and emphasizes the importance of father's age on evolution.

The offspring of chimpanzees inherit 90% of new mutations from their father, and just 10% from their mother, a finding which demonstrates how mutation differs between humans and our closest living relatives, and emphasises the importance of father's age on evolution.
Credit: shiruikage / Fotolia

The offspring of chimpanzees inherit 90% of new mutations from their father, and just 10% from their mother, a finding which demonstrates how mutation differs between humans and our closest living relatives, and emphasises the importance of father's age on evolution.

Published today in Science, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and the Biomedical Primate research Centre in the Netherlands looked at whether, in chimpanzees, there was a heightened risk of fathers passing on mutations to their children compared to humans.

In humans, each individual inherits, on average, about 70 new mutations from their parents. However, this number is influenced by paternal age such that older fathers tend to result in more mutations -- in humans each extra year of age results in two extra mutations.

Mutation risk is linked to father's age because the sperm lineage in males keeps dividing, while females have all the eggs they are ever going to produce present at birth. Paternal age is an established risk factor in a number of disorders including schizophrenia and autism.

The study found that the number of new mutations inherited by chimpanzees from their parents is, on average, very similar to that in humans, but that the effect of the father's age is much stronger -- each additional year of father's age results in three extra mutations.

The results suggest that sexual selection can influence the rate of evolution through its effect on the male mutation rate.

Professor Gil McVean, from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford said: "In humans, a father's age is known to affect how many new mutations he passes on to his children, and is also an established risk factor in a number of mental health disorders.

"This study finds that in chimpanzees the father's age has a much stronger effect on mutation rate -- about one and a half times that in humans. As a consequence, a greater fraction of new mutations enter the population through males, around 90 per cent, compared to humans, where fathers account for 75 per cent of new mutations."

In the study, Wellcome Trust-funded researchers sequenced the genomes of nine western chimpanzees from a three generation family living at the biomedical primate research centre in the Netherlands.

To establish the number of new mutations a child inherits researchers sequence children and their parents and compare the genetic sequence -- any change in the sequence that doesn't exist in either parent genome is a new mutation. To find out which parent the mutation comes from you need to sequence members of the next generation of the family.

One explanation for this difference is that chimpanzees, as a result of their mating system, have evolved to produce many more sperm than humans -- their testes are over three times the relative size of a human. This means there are likely to be more cycles of sperm production, increasing the opportunity for new mutations to emerge.

The authors suggest that more work needs to be done across other species to investigate the impact of mating behaviour on mutation rates and male mutation bias.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. O. Venn, I. Turner, I. Mathieson, N. de Groot, R. Bontrop, G. McVean. Strong male bias drives germline mutation in chimpanzees. Science, 2014; 344 (6189): 1272 DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1272

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Father's age influences rate of evolution: 90% of new mutations from father, chimpanzee study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142307.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2014, June 12). Father's age influences rate of evolution: 90% of new mutations from father, chimpanzee study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142307.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Father's age influences rate of evolution: 90% of new mutations from father, chimpanzee study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142307.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins