Experimental data and clinical observations suggest that delaying childbearing influences the biology of the mother-fetus relationship, with a negative effect on fetal development and predisposition to severe diseases such as type 1 diabetes. We reason that advanced maternal age may influence intrauterine selection, favoring genotypes that are more adapted to the intrauterine environment of less young women. In the present study we have investigated the relationship of maternal age to HP genotype and PGM1-Rh area (chromosome 1) that have been previously found to be associated with fertility and developmental parameters. HP phenotype was determined in 679 consecutive puerperae from the population of central Italy. PGM1 phenotype and Rh C phenotype were determined in 222 puerperae and 200 newborns. The HP 1,1 phenotype decreases and the HP 2,2 phenotype increases with maternal age. The proportion of phenotypes carrying both the Rh C and PGM1*1 alleles is much higher in puerperae older than 36 years than in puerperae of age 22 years. The frequency of the PGM1*1–Rh C haplotype increases and the frequency of the PGM1*2–Rh C haplotype decreases with maternal age. The changes in these genetic systems with advancing maternal age are similar in mothers and newborns. The delay of childbearing age, associated in Western countries with the fertility transition in addition to detrimental effects on intrauterine development and increased susceptibility to severe disorders, could bring about changes in the genetic composition of a population.
Gloria-Bottini, F; Cosmi, E; Nicotra, M; and Cosmi, E V.
"Is Delayed Childbearing Changing Gene Frequencies in Western Populations?,"
4, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol77/iss4/2