Looks like Cindy Crawford can stop trying to sell us on her age-defying beauty products. As widely suspected, that flawless face may have a lot more to do with genetics than she's giving due credit.
A new study is claiming that while, yes, wrinkles and fine lines can be caused in part by environmental changes our skin encounters during our lifetime, a lot of it is predetermined by the genes we get from our moms. The joint study was conducted by the Karolinska Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, which found that one of the biggest factors in aging seems to be in mitochondria (which if you can remember back to 9th grade bio, are the "power plants" of your body's cells). This generates much of the cell's supply of "ATP," which is used as a source of chemical energy.
"The mitochondria contains their own DNA, which changes more than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the aging process," says Nils-Göran Larsson, professor at the Karolinska Institute and principal investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging. Larsson led the study alongside Lars Olson, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute.
As he told Science Daily, "Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell's energy production. [But] surprisingly, we also show that our mother's mitochondrial DNA seems to influence our own aging. If we inherit mDNA with mutations from our mother, we age more quickly." (And that's what we like to call "a double whammy.")
Now whether or not we can actually affect the mDNA changes and slow its breakdown is not yet known. But, as much as the possibilities sound like a sci-fi thriller, researchers are now working with mice and fruit flies to see whether life extension is a possibility. Stay tuned...