You’re a slightly older Mom…………….
By definition, you’re a higher risk pregnancy. Generally speaking, a lot more things can go wrong during your pregnancy. The fundamental problem, baby making is hard work and “older” bodies, sometimes can find the hard work, overwhelming.
But, older bodies do have more experience.
And, this can actually be advantageous.
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found, older Moms chromosomes undergo, a little more mixing and matching.
And gene shuffling, when done well, is a good thing….
Shuffling the genes
The process of rearranging genetic material is referred to as recombination. It is a highly regulated process, which contributes to genetic diversity.
Biologically speaking recombination is a critical process, it’s what makes sex, SEXY .
And you thought the attraction of sex, was the fact that the earth moves……………. under your feet. Mother Nature likes sex, because it is able to create variety.
And when the offspring are all a little different, interesting things can happen. One offspring may be MUCH BETTER. The new improved offspring, has a survival advantage. This advantage allows the organism to live long and prosper. And according to Mother Nature’s mathematical equations, more is always BETTER.
The process of recombination
So what is happening when recombination takes place………
We need to go back to basics.
You’re made of lots of cells. Each cell in your body, has two copies of every single gene. One copy of the gene, comes from your Mom, while the other copy, came from your Dad.
Mmmmmm….. ONE copy.
Something had to happen to cut the number. As a Mom, you only pass on ONE copy. The something that happens is the process of MEIOSIS.
So which gene is chosen to represent your genes ?
Ideally, you want to pass on a mixture i.e. a little bit of your Mom’s side of the family and a little bit of your Dad’s side of the family, to your baby.
The process of RECOMBINATION helps you shuffle things up.
The coming together
To get things goings, a very special cell deep within your ovary, faithfully copies ALL of the DNA. Both your Mom’s genes and your Dad’s genes are replicated.
Eish ! There is now so much DNA inside of the cell, it becomes necessary to package the stuff. At this point in time, chromosomes become visible.
If you’re keeping track of things – the cell is now overloaded with DNA. Instead of just two copies of each gene, the cell is now sitting with four copies of the gene. No need to panic. The chromosomes know this, so they try to get organized, they move about until they find their respective “partner”. Biologists call the “partners” homologous pairs.
A little touchy feely under the covers
The homologous pairs HANGOUT together. And……………. as they hang out, a certain amount of touching and feeling occurs.
And the touchy feely stuff, leads to some serious connecting. The spots where all this hanky panky happens are not completely random.
The result of all this CONNECTING, bits of the chromosome change sides.
Some of your Mom’s genes, join forces with your Dad’s genes and visa versa. Your genes have been shuffled.
This process of mixing and matching is the RECOMBINATION.
The final steps see the genes being distributed to four new cells. Each cell receives just one copy of each gene, which one it gets, is a random process. But, the cell gets a unique blend of genes from your Mom and your Dad.
Only one of these cells develops to become the egg (oocyte).
If it get’s LUCKY, it meets up with a sperm cell, that has also undergone this same process. MAGIC happens………………
A brand new cell (zygote) is created, this starts to divide, to make your baby. Each cell in your baby, has two copies of each gene. One copy which has been provided by you and one copy which has come from the sperm.
Which one your provided……………………. well it could be the version of the gene you got from your Mom or the version of the gene you got from your Dad. The shuffling process means it is a SURPRISE.
Hopefully a good one !
Older Moms shuffle more
If you’re an older Mom – more shuffling happens.
Using data gathered from families who have been tested by the 23andme Company, a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company. The team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, were able to count up how often recombination events had occurred.
In total they tracked 645,000 recombination events.
Several interesting patterns emerged.
Most notable, was as women get older, the number of recombination events increases. And the points were crossing over happened, were much closer together. The same phenomenon does not happen in older men. The rate of recombination was pretty standard, whether the man was twenty or fifty, when he became a father.
Is this a good thing ?
Mother Nature LOVES variety
More variety, means more options. And more options, typically means more chances to survive, thrive and reproduce.
So…………….. more recombinations should be advantageous.
But, there is a downside to this.
The chromosomes must disentangle from each other, properly. The fact that there are more “connections”, does increase the odds that the process of “pulling” apart, doesn’t go smoothly. And this creates a genetic CRISIS.
Older Moms more likely to have birth defects
Instead of the egg having two copies of each gene, it could find itself short of one copy or it could find itself, with a third copy. This situation more often than not, is fatal. But, when it isn’t, a baby is born with BIG genetic problems. Think Down syndrome – in this case the baby has three copies of the genes located on chromosome 21.
Being able to shuffle the genes better, creates a vulnerability. Oops !
It turns out, it’s all in how the cards are dealt, but in terms of variety – Old Moms spice things up.
Car accidents happen. But when they happen to Moms, the timing is not completely random. More crashes happened in the second trimester of pregnancy.
A calling card is to let you know the person cared enough to call on you – the little lives that begin in your womb leave calling cards for their moms.
Understand, your biological clock is always ticking. Reproductive technologies can service the clock, but they cannot turn back the clock. Be time conscious !
If you are an expectant Mom or know someone that is – invite them to participate, so they can create Better Body Chemistry during their pregnancy and raise a HAPPY HEALTHY little one.