Genetic mutation refers to the alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. In a recent study, researchers have found that fathers pass on four times more genetic mutations to their children as compared to the mothers. These twists are known as de nova mutation. Such mutations cause rare genetic diseases like sickle cell anaemia, haemophilia, Turner syndrome, etc. To simplify the statement, the figures suggest that a child born to a 30-year-old parent would inherit 11 new mutations from the mother. On the other side, its number of mutations from the father’s side will be 45.
The study was completed by ‘Decode’ a company that is known for genetic research and analyzing the human genome. The study was conducted in Iceland that has a homogenous population, which can trace its lineage to just a few common ancestors.
The study scrutinized the entire genome of around 14,000 Icelandic people. The de nova mutation is formed while the making of sex cells. A mistake in copying the DNA changes the genetic code that didn’t affect the parents but can cause genetic disease in the offspring.
The researchers found that the new mutations from mothers increased by the rate of 0.37 per year of age. The rate of increased mutation in men was four times than that of the women. Although these new mutations are harmless, occasionally they disturb the workings of genes that are important for good health.
The research suggests that men are more likely to pass the mutation because of a large number of sex cells, i.e., sperms. Men continue to make sperms throughout their life, which also increases the chances of mutation. On the other hand, women are born with the limited number of eggs.
There is a negative connotation attached with the term mutation, but the constant change in DNA was the reason behind the evolution of the human race. Although sometimes these mutations cause rare diseases in the offspring.
According to the researcher Kari Stefansson, this is an important discovery to understand the mechanism that drives the genomic diversity and the evolution of human species. De novo or new mutations are very crucial for the evolution as they maintain a constant flow of new versions of the genome. However, these mutations are also responsible for the rare disease in the human offspring.
The study used the genetic resources of ‘decode’ lab in Iceland. The de novo mutations or new mutations are called so because they are developed during the formation of eggs and sperms; they can transfer to the offspring but can’t affect the parents. The patch of chromosome 8 is one of the areas that are vulnerable to mutation passed on from the mother. The researchers believe that this part of the genome is vulnerable to breaking that is why it has more mutations.