Researchers in two consortia-led studies suspect that structural abnormalities in chromosomes are a function of aging and likely increase the risk of developing cancer. The studies focused on the presence of genetic mosaicism, which results from alteration of DNA in some—but not all—of an individual’s cells.
Study findings, which were published in Nature Genetics, provide population-based evidence that the mutations increase with age. It was suggested by one researcher that mosaicism might be an early marker in detecting cancer or other chronic diseases. Further studies are necessary for more definitive conclusions.
The study was conducted by scientists at the National Cancer Instituteand the other at the Gene Environment Association Studies(GENEVA) which is sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute.