Good news if your father or grandfather children later in life.
A new study from researchers at Northwestern University suggests that their offspring might live longer.
Biologically, that's because the children and grandchildren of fathers in their late 30s to early 50s have longer telomeres, which are tips of chromosomes that may play a part in good health and longevity.
Aging causes telomeres to get shorter. That means that whenever a cell divides, its telomeres shorten until the cell dies off. Children of older fathers have longer telomeres, likely because telomeres in an aging man's sperm get longer, according to lead author Dan Eisenberg, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern.
"If your father and grandfather were able to live and reproduce at a later age, this might predict that you yourself live in an environment that is somewhat similar – an environment with less accidental deaths or in which men are only able to find a partner at later ages," Eisenberg said in a news release.
"In such an environment, investing more in a body capable of reaching these late ages could be an adaptive strategy from an evolutionary perspective."
The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America .
Researchers analyzed data from the Philippines' Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, which involved 3,327 women who were pregnant in 1983-84. They then tracked their children.
TIME reported that the team examined telomeres in DNA collected from the mother's and their children's blood. Next they compared children's telomere lengths to the ages of their fathers and grandfathers when each successive generation was born.
The researchers discovered that the older the children's dads were when they were born, the longer their telomeres. The same was true when the researchers examined the older kids' grandfathers.
From one generation to the next, the study found that the lengthening effect was compounded. But they did not find a similar effect from the maternal grandfathers' side.
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