Air pollution makes chromosomes look older

By Janet Raloff, 16:24 PM May 20, 2009

Chronic exposure to traffic-related air pollution can make cells in the body look older — about 10 years older, a new study finds.

Andrea Baccarelli of the University of Milan, Italy, and his colleagues extracted genetic material from white blood cells that had been collected from 57 office workers and 77 people who spent their days in the road directing traffic. They focused on telomeres, repetitive segments of DNA that serve as protective caps on the tips of chromosomes.

As a general rul...

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