Genetics of aging

Agência FAPESP

European scientists announced on Sunday (7 / 2) the discovery of genetic mutations associated with aging in humans. The group analyzed more than 500 thousand genetic variants throughout the genome to identify mutations that lie close to the gene called TERC.

The news was published in the journal Nature Genetics. Nilesh Samani, professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester in the United States, one of the coordinators of the research, explains that there are two forms of aging.

The first is the chronological aging, ie the number of years lived, and the second is biological, in which cells of an individual are younger (or older) than the actual age suggests.

“There is increasing evidence that the risk of diseases associated with aging, including heart problems and some cancers, is more closely related to biological age than chronological age,” Samani said.

“We studied structures called telomeres, which are parts of the chromosome. Individuals are born with certain length of telomeres in many cells and they shrink as they age and that the cells divide. The length of the telomere is for this reason, considered a marker of biological aging, “he said.

The group of scientists found that people with particular genetic variants had shorter telomeres and were biologically older.

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