Gene could hold secret to youth

A single gene could hold the secret to eternal youth, scientists have shown, after rejuvenating the skin of two-year-old mice by blocking its activity.

Not only did the animals appear more youthful, but at a biological level they resembled new-borns. The same gene, NF-kappa-B, is thought to play a role in numerous other aspects of ageing.

It acts as a regulator, causing a wide range of other genes to be more or less active in older people.

Dr Howard Chang, from the Stanford School of Medicine in California, who led the research, said: “We found a pretty striking reversal to that of the young skin.

However, he cautioned against raising false hopes of a “fountain of youth” that can turn back time. At present no one knows how long the rejuvenating process lasts. Also, scientists do not know long-term effects that might result from tinkering with NF-kappa-B, a so-called transcription factor which helps control gene activity.

Source:  The Press Association

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