News of the WeekGenetics

Chipping Away at the Causes of Aging

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Science  31 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5462, pp. 2390
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5462.2390

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Summary

Researchers are getting some clues to the causes of the physical degeneration that occurs in aging from DNA microarrays or chips, which enable them to perform wholesale analysis of gene expression patterns. On page 2486, a team reports that some of the gene changes they saw in aging fibroblasts, the cells that help form skin and connective tissue, could cause skin to wrinkle. They also found evidence for what may be a more global explanation of aging: an impairment of the machinery needed for normal separation of the chromosomes during cell division that could lead to genetic instability and a variety of disturbances in gene function.

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