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remature aging although rare has been a big problem that leaves scientists scratching their heads for many years. Over the last decade, many theories have been brought to the table as to why certain people age prematurely. Some say it may be caused by a stressful lifestyle whilst others think it may be caused by certain foods. DNA is represented by a double helix shape, however, scientists have discovered that there are other ways for genetic information to fit through small gaps.

In 2013, the “double-double-helix” structures were initially identified in live human cells, and in the years that followed, they were mostly identified in cancer cells.

Now, scientists from Imperial College London have discovered a connection between an accumulation of G-quadruplexes and another uncommon genetic condition called Cockayne syndrome (CS) or Neill-Dingwall syndrome.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Premature aging, UV sensitivity, brain degeneration, and growth failure are all symptoms of the disorder known as Cockayne syndrome, which affects many different bodily systems.

The illness is often linked to a mutation in the protein Cockayne syndrome B. (CSB). The researchers have now demonstrated that the protein binds to G-quadruplexes, which are made up of several DNA sequences, with “surprising picomolar affinity” in laboratory trials involving humans, animals, and bacterial cells.

This is a significant discovery because it implies that the CSB protein participates in the “mixing and matching” of DNA sequences in cell nuclei, particularly when it comes to ribosomal DNA.

Unusual Structure in DNA Federica (Source: Raguseo/Imperial College London)

Cellular proteins are encoded in this particular form of DNA, thus if CSB is altered and is unable to bind to G-quadruplexes, these proteins cannot be produced.

Previous research has demonstrated that transcription of G-quadruplex structures is often delayed in the absence of functioning CSB proteins. Genetic information can no longer exit the cell and connect with the rest of the body without a copy of this DNA.

Besides the unusual DNA structure, the connection with premature aging may also showcase a possible mutation were aging in the human cells can be slowed down or even stopped, leading to what people may call immortality from aging or natural death causes.

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