US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at the University of Utah have found that differences in the rate of mutation accumulation in healthy young people can help predict the lifespan of both sexes and how long a woman will be fertile. The opening article was published in Scientific Reports.
Scientists have long known that DNA damage is constantly occurring in the body. Typically, various mechanisms repair these lesions and prevent potentially harmful mutations. However, with age, these mechanisms become less effective and more and more mutations accumulate in the body. Older parents, for example, tend to transmit more genetic mutations to their children than younger parents.
However, the authors of a new study suggested that these mutations may be biomarkers for the rate of aging and potentially predict life expectancy in younger people, as well as fertility in women.
To test this hypothesis, researchers sequenced DNA from 61 men and 61 women who were grandparents in 41 families of three generations. Scientists analyzed the DNA sequence of blood in triples, consisting of pairs of grandparents from the first generation and one of their children from the second generation. Then the mutations found in the DNA of the blood of the child, but not present in the DNA of any of the parents, the scientists isolated and studied more thoroughly. Researchers were able to determine which parent each embryo mutation originated from, and therefore the number of mutations that each parent accumulated in the egg or sperm at the time of conception.
This allowed researchers to compare each parent of the first generation with other representatives of the same gender and evaluate their aging rate. Scientists have discovered that mutation rates began to increase during or shortly after puberty. This means that aging begins in adolescence.
Some young adults have acquired mutations at speeds up to three times more than others. After adjusting the age, the researchers determined that people with the slowest rates of mutation accumulation are likely to live about five years longer than those who accumulated mutations faster. This difference is comparable to the effects of smoking or lack of physical activity. Women with the highest mutation rates had significantly more stillbirths and miscarriages than women with fewer mutations. This suggests that the high rate of mutations affected their fertility.
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