Via step-wise reprogramming, adult cells can be transformed to stem cells, which again have the ability to develop into other specialised human cell types. The image shows a colony of these stem cells and the colours represent markers that confirm that they have successfully been reprogrammed. Credit: Babraham Institute
Ageing is linked to changes in the way our DNA is used, so can researchers stop the clock?
Life expectancy has risen sharply over recent decades, but many people live their later years in poor health. The discovery of an ageing ‘clock’ written onto our DNA raises the promise of matching our health-span more closely to our lifespan. At this exhibit learn how the ageing clock is ticking in all of us, and how it might be reprogrammed through research.
Research suggests that a similar ageing process affects us all, revealed as marks that accumulate on our DNA – known as epigenetic changes. The time on this clock can be read by studying these changes, and a team at the Babraham Institute has developed a computer model to predict the current age of mice to within 3.3 weeks by studying these changes. Using animal models the researchers are able to see if diet, lifestyle or medicines can speed up or slow down the ageing process – or even reset it altogether – in animals and man.
Find out more about the ageing ‘clock’ and epigenetics. You can also listen to this podcast about early development.
Presented by the Babraham Institute and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.