If you hold a grudge that you weren’t born with mutant genes (like the fictional “X-gene” responsible for helping Marvel comic’s characters develop super-human abilities), your dad is most likely responsible. The largest study of human genetic mutations to date shows that humans inherit more than three times as many mutations from dad than from mom, especially if dad is middle-aged or older.
But mutations linked to autism are also more likely to be inherited from an older father. The study, based on the DNA of 85,000 Icelanders, was published in the journal Nature Genetica and sheds new light on human evolution.
“Most mutations come from dad,” says David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and a co-leader of the study which involved researchers from deCODE Genetics, a biopharma company based in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The study also found that the mutation rate in fathers doubles every 16.5 years after age 20, but that there is no association with age in mothers. The finding may shed light on conditions, such as autism, that correlate with older parents.