excerpt: An estimated 350 to 400 kids across the world have progeria. For these children, a single mutation in their genetic code upends their health (SN: 2/7/13). That mutation interferes with the gene responsible for making the protein lamin A, which helps hold cells’ nuclei together. Children with progeria end up with higher amounts of a defective protein called progerin, which is similar to lamin A but with an extra piece attached. This protein gets stuck in cells’ membranes and can’t be recycled for fresh proteins, causing the cells to prematurely age and making blood vessels and connective tissue stiffer, Kleinman says.   

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