Why Do We Age? DNA Damage A Likely Cause (Bill Haseltine)

This story is one of many exploring recent advances in the science of longevity and aging. The following few articles in the series, including this one, will focus on the relationship between genetics and longevity; Which genes are involved in aging and longevity? How are they involved? What are the therapeutic implications?

Think of aging as a series of misfires; processes and pathways that ran smoothly while we were young slowly begin to break down. Over time, these interruptions build up, leading to the signs we’ve all come to associate with later life: loss of muscle mass, a weakening of the immune system, memory troubles, and so on. What we see “on the skin” is mirrored at the genetic level, with clear differences between younger and older adults. But until now, the exact causes of these age-related genetic changes remained poorly understood. A recent study, published in Nature Genetics, suggests DNA damage may be to blame.

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Although i think damage to mitochondrial dna is part of aging i think the primary cause of the aging phenotype is not damage to the somatic dna. There is a gradual failure of the genome with stochastic elements. DNA damage would cause an abrupt failure.

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