Some trees can live for more than 1,000 years and scientists may have figured out why

Ginkgo trees stand in the autumn sun in Tokyo, Japan, on December 6, 2006.

(CNN)Some trees can live for centuries or even millennia but the secrets behind their long life spans have eluded scientists.

However, new research has found that the ginkgo tree, which can live more than 1,000 years, doesn't really show any expected effects of aging — they appear to be primed for immortality.
Researchers examined growth rings taken from inside the trunks of 34 healthy ginkgo trees in two Chinese provinces, Jiangsu and Hubei. The trees ranged in age from 15 to 667 years old. They found that the ginkgos didn't stop growing as they aged, although the rings grew thinner.
And increasing age wasn't associated with changes in other indicators of tree health: leaf size, its ability to photosynthesize and seed quality. Researchers examined possible changes at the genetic level. The researchers compared cells extracted from between the tree wood and bark and found that there was no change in the expression of genes related to biological aging, called senescence.