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Nondisjunction associated with advanced maternal age, a well-established factor in the etiology of autosomal trisomy, should equally affect all chromosomes. In this study we evaluate the association of advanced maternal age with the occurrence of potentially viable autosomal trisomies (13, 18 and 21). 275 aneuploid pregnancies were ascertained prenatally and were grouped according to chromosome anomaly diagnosed. Mean maternal age was significantly younger (p = 0.009) in pregnancies affected by trisomy 13 than in pregnancies with trisomy 21. An intermediate mean maternal age was observed in pregnancies affected by trisomy 18. Our study shows a trend of the more severe, but potentially viable, autosomal trisomies to be diagnosed at younger maternal age. This may substantiate the ‘relaxed selection hypothesis’ proposed to explain the association of aneuploid conceptions with advanced maternal age.
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