Maternal effects on lifespan

Jim Cummins cummins at
Wed Jan 19 02:31:35 EST 1994

A recent paper speculates that aspects of lifespan may be maternally
inherited and mediated through mitochondrial DNA   (Sont &
Vandenbroucke, J Clin Epidemiol 46: 199-201, 1993). There is cerrtainly
a strong association between age of death of offspring and mothers, but
not fathers ( Abbott et al Am J Med Genet 2: 105-120, 1978) that has
recently been confirmed in the Framingham longevity study (Brand et al 
J Clin Epidemiol 45: 169-174, 1992).   We've now shown a relationship
between mitochondrial DNA deletions and some forms of male infertility
.  Does anyone on the 'net know of any data that relates male
infertility to (a) maternal age at conception (b) life expectancy (c)
other forms of mitochondrial genome deficiency such as muscle weakness
and dementia?  

Serious stuff aside, I guess the bottom line is that if you want to
live long then pick your mother with care ;-)

Jim Cummins                   
School of Veterinary Studies
Murdoch University
Western Australia 6150  Tel +61-9-360 2668 Fax +61-9-310 4144
"An inordinate fondness for beetles"!

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