Harmful viruses and even friendly bacteria may cause premature ageing

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microbes

A conceptual illustration of microbes from the human microbiome – such microorganisms may influence the ageing process in animals including humans

ROGER HARRIS/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

Getting old is an inescapable fact of life, like wet British summers. But age may not be entirely due to processes in our body cells. Instead, our bodies may age in part because of the actions of microorganisms like bacteria, which interfere with our biology.

“Are we older than we could be due to interactions with other species?” asks Eric Bapteste at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, …

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