“Scientists and researchers of the Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics at the UKC Ljubljana hospital have discovered a new gene for premature ageing as part of an international research group. According to institute head Borut Peterlin, the discovery can be compared to the discovery of a new planet.

The research was caused by the death of a six-months-old baby boy who was born with a genetic mutation. “He was born too little and too early and had a couple of wrinkles on his face. Irregularities also occurred in bone development,” Karin Writzl of the institute said.

Peterlin, who compared the discovery of the gene with the discovery of a new planet, said that “now we know only 15% of the human genome”. “We still don’t understand the rest, why these genes are there and what significance they have for the normal functioning of a human.”

The discovery will help doctors better understand ageing and enable successful diagnostics, as it will allow them to better recognise rare (genetic) diseases, Peterlin said as he presented the discovery at a news conference in Ljubljana today.” (Slovenia Times)