One Cause of Aging: Mitochondrial Mutation

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden have found a direct connection between the mutation of mitochondrial DNA in animal cells and the process of aging. Mitochondria, the tiny engines of cells, produce oxidants that have been implicated in cell damage over time, and their DNA may bear the brunt of the oxidant assault. The mitochondrial DNA of mice was modified to accelerate mutations by three to five times normal mutation rates. These mice developed age-related diseases earlier and lived only a third as long as normal mice.

As is typical with announcements of this sort, the researchers are staying clear of immortality promises, but they do suggest interventions might be developed that could treat many of the diseases of normal aging.

The research was led by Nils-Goran Larsson, a genetics professor, and was published this week in the scientific journal “Nature“.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).