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Is the fountain of youth found in a single gene?

Created date

January 7th, 2014

From insects to mammals, young members of each species recover and repair tissue damage better than older animals. For years, scientists have wondered exactly why.

Now, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found a gene called Lin28a that might be responsible. This gene is very active in embryonic mice but not in adult mice. It regulates growth and development, among other functions.

Researchers reactivated the gene in adult mice and found that tissue repair was enhanced (it also stimulated hair growth). They speculate that Lin28a could be part of a healing potion for wound repair or other injuries. It may also be an option for treatment of some degenerative diseases.