Researchers in Sweden have found that our aging process may be partly influenced by the genes that we inherit from our mothers.
Researchers led by Professor Nils-Goran Larsson, from the Karolinska Institute, conducted the study which found that mutations in the genes inherited exclusively from the mother led to age-related abnormalities in growing mice. The researchers said that the mutations are not found in the cell nucleus, but in a separate set of genes present in the mitochondria, which are inherited from an individual's mother.
Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) has been linked with serious genetic diseases but the new study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that even mild damage can contribute to accelerated ageing.
"If we inherit mDNA with mutations from our mother, we age more quickly. Our findings can shed more light on the ageing process and prove that the mitochondria play a key part in ageing. They show that it's important to reduce the number of mutations", Prof Larsson said.