The underlying cause of aging remains one of the central mysteries of biology. Recent studies in several different systems suggest that not only may the rate of aging be modified by environmental and genetic factors, but also that the aging clock can be reversed, restoring characteristics of youthfulness to aged cells and tissues. This Review focuses on the emerging biology of rejuvenation through the lens of epigenetic reprogramming. By defining youthfulness and senescence as epigenetic states, a framework for asking new questions about the aging process emerges.
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