As cells age, they accumulate signs of DNA damage. Breaks in both strands of the DNA molecule are especially toxic and have been linked to increased genomic instability and cancer risk with age.
Lead author Thomas Young, Ph.D. and senior author Murat Acar, Associate Professor of MCDB studied individual yeast cells and found that the efficiency of one DNA repair pathway decreases by 23% in older cells compared to young cells. This decline in older cells seems to be caused by longer duration of the early phase of the cell cycle called G1, when cells grow in preparation for division.
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