DNA damage and ageing: New-age ideas for an age-old problem
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Loss of genome maintenance may causally contribute to ageing, as exemplified by the premature appearance of multiple symptoms of ageing in a growing family of human syndromes and in mice with genetic defects in genome maintenance pathways. Recent evidence revealed a similarity between such prematurely ageing mutants and long-lived mice harbouring mutations in growth signalling pathways. At first sight this seems paradoxical as they represent both extremes of ageing yet show a similar 'survival' response that is capable of delaying age-related pathology and extending lifespan. Understanding the mechanistic basis of this response and its connection with genome maintenance would open exciting possibilities for counteracting cancer or age-related diseases, and for promoting longevity.