Monday, February 8, 2010

Living fast? Scientists show lifespan is linked to DNA | Science |

by Ian Sample

Scientists have isolated a gene sequence that appears to determine how fast our bodies age, the first time a link between DNA and human lifespan has been found.

The discovery could have a profound impact on public health and raises the best hope yet for drugs that prevent the biological wear and tear behind common age-related conditions such as heart disease and certain cancers.

The work is expected to pave the way for screening programmes to spot people who are likely to age fast and be more susceptible to heart problems and other conditions early in life. People who test positive for the gene variant in their 20s could be put on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and encouraged to exercise, eat healthily and avoid smoking.

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