Statistics and Mother Nature

Tom Matthews tmatth at
Fri Sep 26 02:48:34 EST 1997

Rodney Reid wrote:
>         From the journal Nature this week comes a study that shows how
> differences in the age of the parents influences the gender of their
> firstborn.
>         The study consisted of a group of 301 british families, in which
> the researchers found if men married women at least five years younger
> then them, the chance of them having a firstborn son instead of a
> firstborn daughter is 2-1.    The same is reversed for the older woman,
> younger man scenario, with firstborn daughters occurring 2-1.

>         Maybe it's just me, but I see a correlation, and a reason
> (method?) as to why the two are related:  the older parent can possibly
> pass on age related mutations to their offspring of the opposite sex,
> which is why it's (statistically) decided against.

I agree that its very interesting, Rodney, but I don't understand the
logic of your correlation.
But why don't they pass these same mutations to their same sex
I believe I have read that the sperm of older men produce less viable

Tom Matthews
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