Scientists have discovered a method of reversing the effects of aging on mice's skin.
The researchers, from Stanford University, hope that one day the work could be useful in helping older people heal from an injury as quickly as they did when they were younger.
According to Dr Howard Chang, the senior author of the study, this work supports the notion that aging is the result of specific genetic changes rather than wear and tear.
This could mean that the aging process is "potentially amendable to intervention" although the researchers stressed it was unlikely to lead to a "fountain of youth".
Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists, told the BBC: "Targeting of gene therapy to skin is still very difficult but this may provide some new avenues of research that will be of value to wound healing, following skin trauma or disfiguring skin cancer surgery."
Ms Goad added that the research should be regarded with caution due to the unforeseen consequences of manipulating genes.
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