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Tiny roundworm's telomeres help scientists to tease apart different types of aging

ging you have to control both, aging in your dividing cells, which hinges on telomere maintenance, but also aging in your non-dividing cells. We thought that telomeres might play a role in the later but that's clearly not the case," says Dillin. "What is probably playing a role in the other half of aging is the insulin signaling pathway, proper mitochondrial function and dietary restriction," he reasons.

Several types of cells in our body, such as mature nerve cells in the brain, oocytes, skeletal and heart muscle cells don't actively divide but stay put just like the cells in adult worms.

"That makes our findings relevant for age-related decline in mental function and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's," says Karlseder. "Making people live longer is not enough, we want them to grow old healthy," he adds.

"To prevent accelerated aging in an organism, you need to have both proper telomere maintenance and those other genetic pathways intact," says Dillin. "If you wanted to develop a drug to combat aging it wouldn't be enough to target telomeres, you would also have to target these other genetic pathways."


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Source:Salk Institute


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