Children born to older fathers are not just at an increased risk of autism and some other diseases but are also more likely to be ugly, scientists say. Previous studies have shown that extra-genetic mutations that build up in older men’s genes can raise their children’s risk of autism, schizophrenia and other diseases. Now researchers say the impact is so strong that it also affects the appearance of those who have older fathers.
“We found a significant negative effect between paternal age and people’s facial attractiveness,” said Martin Fieder, an anthropologist at Vienna University and one of the research team leaders. “The age of the father at conception is not only a determinant of the risk for certain diseases but also predicts facial attractiveness,” Fieder said.
In the study, a group of six men and six women was shown photographs of 4,018 men and 4,416 women, mostly aged 18-20, and asked to rate their attractiveness. The researchers found that subjects with older fathers tended to be consistently rated less attractive than those with younger fathers.