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Blood stem cells may be 'exhausted' in old age, sequencing shows

By Sharon Kingman
Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

LONDON – A study of the genome of a woman who lived to the age of 115 years has revealed that people develop many different mutations in their somatic cells during their lifetimes, and that these mutations may not be harmful to health. The woman, who despite her great age had no signs of dementia or cognitive impairment when she died, may well have been the oldest person ever to donate her body to science. When researchers sequenced the genomes of cells from both her brain and her blood, they found that the blood cells – unlike the brain cells – had accumulated hundreds of mutations.

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