Scientists have discovered four genes that could control the human ageing process and using these, plus diet and environmental factors, could calculate how soon individuals will age. These genes are switched on or off by external factors and these are what affects the ageing process. Scientists believe that if they can use this to better understand ageing.
There are many epigenetic factors that we already know affects ageing. This is the way our DNA is regulated which does not affect our actual genes but our non-coding DNA instead. It is thought that if this was fully understood and combined with the knowledge gained from the newly discovered “Father Time” genes drugs may be developed that would be able to halt the ageing process.
Evidence has shown that ageing is caused by a combination of genetics and environment a discovered from the results of “twin studies” where ageing is studied in identical twins. Any changes that are not seen in both individual are not caused by genes and must be caused by other environmental factors.
Currently the studies conducted have only looked at a fraction of our DNA so there is still a lot more work to be done and a more comprehensive study is needed before the research can go further.