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Answer to Question #65438 in Genetics for Sanjukta Ghosh

Question #65438
This could fall under Molecular biology too.

Why does increase in age of the mother increases the chance of having an offspring with Down Syndrome?

I want to know the molecular basis of this observation.
Expert's answer
Answer
There is a lot of chromosomal abnormalities that may cause Down syndrome, but only non-disjunction of sister chromatids is associated with the maternal age. Although the molecular reasons for this observation are not absolutely clear; it is speculated that with the course of the time oocytes suffer from multiple molecular abnormalities: non-separating cohesins, pathologic SAC proteins (spindle assembly checkpoint), malformations in the synaptonemal complex and even epigenetic changes.

Source: Maternal age and chromosomally abnormal pregnancies: what we know and what we wish we knew. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2009 Dec; 21(6): 703–708. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328332c6ab

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