DNA repair is essential for cell vitality, cell survival, and cancer prevention, yet cells’ ability to patch up damaged DNA declines with age for reasons not fully understood. Now, research led by scientists at Harvard Medical School (HMS) reveals a critical step in a molecular chain of events that allows cells to mend their broken DNA.
We’re all here because of mutations. Random changes in genes are what creates variety in a species, and this is what allows it to adapt to new environments and eventually evolve into completely new species. But most random mutations actually disrupt the functions of our genes and so are a common source of genetic diseases.
With an estimated lifespan of 400 years, the Greenland shark has just been reported to be the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet. This is only the latest of a series of recent findings that push the boundaries of animal longevity, and it raises the perennial question of what factors enable some animals to achieve what we might call extreme longevity – lifespans that can be measured in centuries.
It might not just be expectant mothers who have to pay attention to their lifestyle. Now a new study published in Science could be relevant to a growing body of research looking at ways in which the lifestyle and environment of men before they become fathers could influence the lives of their children and grandchildren.