Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have found a fast and effective way to investigate important aspects of human ageing. Working at the University of Oxford and The Open University, Dr Lynne Cox and Dr Robert Saunders have discovered a gene in fruit flies that means flies can now be used to study the effects ageing has on DNA.
Dr Lynne Cox from the University of Oxford said: “We study a premature human ageing disease called Werner syndrome to help us understand normal ageing. The key to this disease is that changes in a single gene (called WRN) mean that patients age very quickly.
Scientists have made great progress in working out what this gene does in the test tube, but until now we haven’t been able to investigate the gene to look at its effect on development and the whole body. By working on this gene in fruit flies, we can model human ageing in a powerful experimental system.”