Scientists identify the gene MC1R that makes you look older

Scientists have identified the gene that makes you look older than you actually are. In a new study published in the Current Biology, researchers have blamed the DNA that can make one look at least two years older on average when compared to those who do not carry the specific gene.

It is for the first time that any team of scientists has identified the gene that can explain why some people appear older than others while some people appear younger than their actual age.

Scientists knew that lifestyle factors like sun exposure and smoking play a major role in how old a person looks. Without a doubt genetics also plays a key role in the aging of a person. With the study, scientists tried to identify the role of genetics and to which extent it affects aging.

For the study, scientists observed 2,700 Dutch adults. Study authors showed photos of the subjects to random people and asked them to identify their age by looking at the photo. Later, researchers analyzed DNA of every participant in which they monitored nearly 8 million variations. Scientists observed variation in age, sex, skin color, sun damage and wrinkles.

After analyzing the data, it was found that one gene behaved differently in the people who appeared older than their actual age. Study authors confirmed their find by comparing it with other two studies.

The gene named MC1R which plays a key role in the synthesis of melanin in the skin is responsible for making people look older. According to scientists, the gene also leads to red hair and pale skin. While explaining lead study author Manfred Kayser said that MC1R might be affecting the ability to repair the damaged DNA. Scientists believe that might be several other genes involved in the aging of a person and study on a larger scale is required to identify all.

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