"Peter Pan" Gene Causes People to Sport a Baby-face for a Long Time

by Savitha C Muppala on  February 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM Genetics & Stem Cells News   - G J E 4
This perhaps explains why some look younger than their contemporaries , indeed it is the 'Peter Pan' gene.

British scientists claim the gene explains why some people remain baby-faced while others become old before their time, reports the Courier Mail.

Some people are blessed with DNA that makes them look up to eight years younger than their peers.

According to the researchers, their finding research could pave the way for drugs that keep people healthy longer.

Researchers from the University of Leicester and King's College London made the discovery after studying the DNA of more than 12,000 people and identifying one stretch of DNA that clearly sped up ageing.

Up to 7 per cent of the population has two copies of it, meaning they look up to eight years older than people of the same age. Another 38 per cent has one copy, ageing them by three to four years.

A fortunate 55 per cent do not have it at all. Instead, they have two copies of the "Peter Pan" gene, meaning they remain youthful-looking for longer.

The key to the study was the length of telomeres - tiny biological clocks that cap the ends of chromosomes. They get shorter with time, until eventually the cells die.

The researchers found that people with the "Peter Pan" DNA had longer telomeres, meaning their biological clocks ticked more slowly.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Source: ANI

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