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Heterochromatin — Key Player in the Aging Process?

In a recently published paper in Science, scientists at the Salk Institute and Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that Werner syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that leads to premature aging, is caused by a deterioration of DNA bundles known as heterochromatin.

Using a combination of stem cell and gene-editing technologies, the scientists created a cellular model of the disease by deleting the etiological gene, Werner syndrome RecQ helicase-like (WRN) gene, from human stem cells. This gave them the opportunity to study aging cells and find that the WRN-deletion led to disorganization of the heterochromatin structure.

Though more extensive studies need to be carried out to better understand the role of heterochromatin in the aging process, heterochromatin disorganization has been shown to be reversible. Hence, this discovery could lead to ways to prevent age-related diseases and the aging process in general.

Get more details about the study at the Science Daily

Source: Science Daily

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