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Researchers from the University of Utah have developed a tool to test the age of a male’s sperm
Factors such as age and smoking can influence the quality of the sperm
Experts say older sperm could potentially cause genetic mutations such as schizophrenia and autism
A new ‘sperm age calculator’ shows how a father’s lifestyle and ageing can impact their ability to conceive children.
Researchers have long known about how a woman’s age and lifestyle choices can impact her fertility.
Despite research efforts, it has remained unclear how the age of male sperm can change an offspring’s genetics.
But this calculator tool is tipped as a concrete way for researchers to determine the precise age of the sperm and how it alters a man’s fertility.
Experts say this tool can be used to determine the father’s ability to conceive children and if they are putting them at an increased risk of developing a genetic mutation.
Researchers from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City have used the sperm age calculator to better understand how the father’s lifestyle can change the health of the offspring they conceive.
Tim Jenkins, an assistant professor of surgery at the university, and his team studied the sperm in 350 males to see how age impacted their genetics.
They first assessed how the DNA in men changes as they age.
With this data, they found 147 sites on the genome that should be looked at to see if the sperm changes as well.
Jenkins and his team then created the sperm calculator to determine how a sperm has aged and if it impacts the father’s ability to conceive.
This calculator can assess what age the man is and if his sperm has changed at an abnormal rate.
The researchers found that smoking is one factor that significantly ages the sperm in a male’s body.
‘For a 40-year-old man who smokes, our calculator would calculate him to be 44 or so,’ Jenkins said to New Scientist.
The goal of the calculator is to be able to screen men before the decide to have children.
This could tell them how old their sperm is and what the genetic risks could be for their future offspring.
Autism and schizophrenia are two disorders that have been hypothesized to be linked to a mutation in the father’s sperm.
Experts have found these mental disorders to be hereditary and develop while the child is growing in their mother’s womb.
There is no clear evidence to prove the link yet to the father’s sperm, but experts say this sperm calculator could be an important step towards finding those genetic links.
Source: Daily Mail
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