Investigations into accelerated aging conditions have helped to shed light on the biochemistry of "normal" aging. Via Newswise: "A University of Maryland researcher and his team have discovered a key to the cause of the accelerated aging disease Werner syndrome ... caused by a genetic mutation of a specific gene - the WRN gene, which some scientists think hold the key to understanding something about the aging process. Scientists also know that humans have five types of RecQ helicase proteins, including the WRN protein, which is expressed by the WRN gene. These proteins function as safeguards to maintain genome integrity. Mutations in three RecQ helicase proteins have been linked to genetic diseases. But they don't know what goes wrong in this group of proteins that causes the aging process to go haywire. Hu and his team singled out the WRN protein, or enzyme, to look for some answers."