Guys have long been able to taunt their wives over their ability to pro-create late into life. That’s because, while your wife was born with all her eggs fully formed, once she runs out it’s game over. Meanwhile, your trusty jewels keep turning out the sperm — you stud. But a study published in Nature should give you pause before lording this fact over the missus any longer.
Turns out, your sperm’s very strength — 100,000,000 are produced on a good day — is also its greatest weakness, because each time DNA is replicated there’s a chance that an error will be made. The scientific term for that error is “mutation,” a primer on which can be received by watching the 7 X-Men movies. But here’s the part of that study that’s most relevant to you: researchers found an average of 25 mutations per sperm in a 20-year-old, but at age 40 the number was 65 and, by age 56, the number doubled again. So, the older you get, the greater the chance that you’re going to sire Magneto.
Most mutations are harmless, but the ones that aren’t really aren’t. And if a greater risk for autism, bipolar disorder, low IQ, and schizophrenia weren’t enough, the researchers found that you can add facial features to the mix as well. They asked 6 men and 6 women to rate over 8000 photos of people between 18 and 20 years old for good looks, and found “significant negative effects between paternal age and people’s facial attractiveness.” So … maybe less Magneto and more this guy.
It’s not all bad news, though. Another finding of the study is that old guy sperm have long telomeres, which are the protective ends on chromosomes. The longer those are, the longer people tend to live. So, while your kids might not be Zoolander, they’ll probably live longer than their better-looking peers because of your long-ass telomeres — you stud.