Statistics and Mother Nature

Rodney Reid rreid at earth.execpc.com
Fri Sep 26 00:43:26 EST 1997


	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.

	A bigger sample covering all England and Wales also showed this
trend.

	...What I didn't find so fascinating about the article (in a
local newspaper from an AP feed) is that it's drawn up by the author and
others as a biological mystery (no explanations given)

	Although I don't have a lot of time to expand on this, doesn't
this research somehow correlate with the following (discussed last year
here):

Mutat Res 1997 Jun 9;377(1):61-62 
Mutation load and human longevity.
Authors: Gavrilov LA, Gavrilova NS, Kroutko VN, Evdokushkina GN, Semyonova
VG, Gavrilova AL, Lapshin EV, Evdokushkina NN, Kushnareva YE
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?uid=9219579&form=6&db=m&Dopt=r
"...daughters born to old fathers (50-59 years) lose about 4.4 years of
their life compared to daughters of young fathers (20-29 years) "

Gavrilov, L.A., N.S.Gavrilova, G.N.Evdokushkina G.N., Y.E.Kushnareva,
   V.G.Semyonova, A.L.Gavrilova, E.V.Lapshin, N.N.Evdokushkina (1996)
   Determinants of human longevity: parental age at reproduction and
   offspring longevity, Longevity Report (ISSN 0964-5659), 10, 54, 7-15.
   
Gavrilov, L.A., N.S.Gavrilova, G.N.Evdokushkina G.N., Y.E.Kushnareva,
   V.G.Semyonova, A.L.Gavrilova, E.V.Lapshin, N.N.Evdokushkina (1996)
   The revival of longevity genetics, Longevity Report (ISSN 0964-5659),
   10, 55, 3-4.


	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.

	...Rodney




More information about the Ageing mailing list