BioNews: Ageing process determined by mum’s DNA

This week in BioNews, I report on a study showing mousy evidence that genetic mutations inherited from mother may speed up ageing.

Mitochondria are powerhouses, batteries, factories. They provide energy to the cells in your body and without them, you die. One of the cool things about these little bean-shaped organelles is that you inherit them from your mother, not your father. Another cool but slightly scarier fact is that their DNA mutates faster than the DNA in the nucleus of a cell. This means your mitochondria can be prone to accumulating damage throughout life, which may in turn contribute to the ageing process.

The researchers in this study found that mice who inherited already-mutated mitochondrial DNA from their mothers aged prematurely compared to other mice. Have a read.