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Am J Hum Genet. 1983 Nov;35(6):1297-306.

An analysis for paternal-age effect in Ohio's Down syndrome births, 1970-1980.


The purpose of this study was to analyze Down syndrome (DS) births during 1970-1980 in the State of Ohio for a paternal-age effect independent of maternal age. Birth certificates and chromosome analysis records were used to ascertain 1,244 white DS births, which by capture-recapture methodology were estimated to comprise two-thirds of all white DS births in Ohio for this period. The control data consisted of 1,667,210 white live births in Ohio during the same period. One method of statistical analysis was a case-control comparison, which for each single-year maternal age compares the mean paternal age for controls with each observed DS paternal age. No statistically significant paternal-age effect was found in nine of the 11 years. For two of the years, and for all years combined, the DS fathers were significantly younger than the fathers of controls. When the data were subdivided according to ascertainment, one subpopulation--those DS individuals obtained from birth certificates alone--also showed a statistically significant negative paternal-age effect. The Mantel-Haenszel test was also applied to these data. Assuming no paternal-age effect, a lower rate of DS births than expected was found at paternal ages greater than or equal to 40, but not at greater than or equal to 45, greater than or equal to 50, or greater than or equal to 55. These same methods were used to test for a maternal-age effect. In each of the 11 years and over all 11 years combined, a strong and statistically significant positive maternal-age effect was detected.

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