Ljubljana — Being part of an international research group, scientists and researchers from the Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics at the UKC Ljubljana hospital discovered a new gene responsible for premature ageing. The Head of the Institute, Borut Peterlin, says that this achievement is comparable to the discovery of a new planet. The research was initiated after the death of a six-months-old boy. He was born with a genetic mutation. Thanks to this discovery, doctors will better understand the process of ageing and perform successful diagnostics due to an improved recognition of rare (genetic) diseases. Besides, the discovery of a new gene will be of significant importance for treating other illnesses, such as cancer and obesity. The team, which made the discovery, includes Slovenian scientists and 12 foreign researchers. It was among the first scientific teams in Europe to use a special gene sequencing technology that makes it possible to compare genes of an ill person and his or her relatives.