Point mutations in mitochondrial DNA do not cause signs of aging in mice, according to a report in this week's Nature Genetics. The data, which contradict a prominent theory that mitochondrial mutations drive the aging process, show that mice with mitochondrial mutations 500 times higher than normal levels do not show signs of premature aging.The finding "supports the idea that the accumulation of these mutations might be correlated with aging but [are] not causative," said Eric Schon of Columbia University in New York, who was not involved in the study.Previous work has led to the mitochondrial theory of aging, which says that mitochondrial DNA mutations throughout life eventually cause the decline in tissue functioning associated with aging.During the study, Marc Vermulst of the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues measured the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations using a new technique -- an adaptation of...

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