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Journal of Applied Genetics 44(3), 2003, pp. 383-399

Manifestations of ageing at the cytogenetic level

Alina WOJDA, Michal WITT


Abstract: The effects of ageing in humans appear to be a combination of influence of genetically programmed phenomena and exogenous environmental factors, and take place at the cellular level (senescence), rather than at the level of the organism. There are many processes, which occur in somatic cells as a consequence of DNA replication (accumulation of DNA errors or mutations that outstrip repair processes, telomere shortening, deregulation of apoptosis, etc.) and which drive replicative senescence in human cells. DNA errors are considered to be critical primary lesions in the formation of chromosomal aberrations. It can be concluded that the chromosome aberrations are biomarkers of ageing in human cells. Studies of human metaphases, interphase nuclei and micronuclei showed the increase in loss of chromosomes and the increase in frequency of stable chromosome aberrations as a function of age.

Key words: ageing, chromosomal aberrations, DNA damage, FISH, replicative senescence.

Correspondence: A. Wojda, Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Strzeszynska 32, 60-479 Poznan, Poland, e-mail: wojdal@man.poznan.pl

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