Every woman’s dream is to age gracefully, if at all. Well, listen closely ladies, because it seems we’re one step closer to making that a reality, with scientists discovering a genetic breakthrough that could stop the ageing process.
Researchers studying a rare age accelerating disorder called Werner syndrome recently came across a genetic fault that causes people with the condition to age prematurely. What’s this go to do with me, you ask?
What they found was that a deterioration of DNA cells may contribute to the ageing process, which according to scientists suggests that the way our DNA is packaged could hold the key to slowing human ageing. What’s more, the research also indicated that this process could play a role in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, which was published in the journal Science, revealed that when researchers tested the cells of patients with Werner syndrome, they discovered that the chromosomes in these cells were slightly messier than normal. In case you’re wondering, this apparently causes cells to age quicker.
“Our findings show that the gene mutation that causes Werner syndrome results in the disorganisation of heterochromatin, and that this disruption of normal DNA packaging is a key driver of ageing,” professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte – geneticist and one of the lead authors of the study told the Daily Mail.
“More broadly, it suggests that accumulated alterations in the structure of heterochromatin may be a major underlying cause of cellular ageing.
“This begs the question of whether we can reverse these alterations – like remodelling an old house or car – to prevent, or even reverse, age-related declines and diseases,” he continued.
However, before you throw away your anti-wrinkle creams and skip on the sunblock, professor Ilaria Bellantuono from the University of Sheffield insisted that we’re still a long way from acquiring the fountain of youth.
“While in future it may be possible to use the knowledge developed to devise new interventions to slow or reverse human ageing, this is far away in time,” she said to the Daily Mail.
“We need to remember that this study is conducted in a single cell type whereas ageing is a complex multifactorial process which affects several systems.”
Hey, at least there’s hope!
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