This Week in Nature

In Nature this week: older fathers and de novo mutation rates, a gene to enhance rice yields, and more.

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The phrasing of this snipet

The phrasing of this snipet as well as a Genome Web article yesterday by Andrea Anderson seem to be very misleading. They state that the "mutation RATE" is higher in "the children of older fathers." Are the genomes within the cells of these children mutating faster than the genomes of their peers begat by younger fathers? That is what the phrasing quoted above implies. However what I understand from the synopses to be described by Steffenson is that more spontaneous mutations have accumulated in a father's germ cells after four (e.g.) decades of life than two. This is hardly surprising but rather inevitable. So my younger sibling's paternal genes are less identical to my father's original genome sequence than mine. Unless my father's genome was transcendently perfect and all base changes deleterious rather than likely to be neutral, I don't see any consequences here graver than ordinary biology.