Ticking time bombs of DNA mutation may dictate when animals die

Animals carry “mutational clocks” in their cells that dictate how quickly their DNA picks up mutations. And across species, animals tend to die once they’ve hit a certain number of mutations, new research finds.

It turns out that, in long-lived mammals like humans, these mutational clocks tick slower than they do in short-lived mammals like mice, meaning humans reach that threshold number of mutations at a later age than mice do. This discovery, the researchers said, could help solve a long-standing mystery in biology.

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