Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Genes for a longer, healthier life found"

For centuries, the human race has been searching for a figurative or literal fountain of youth.  It wasn't until just recently that scientists  discovered the genes associated with the aging process.  Researchers at ETH Zurich and the JenAge consortium from Jena have been going through the genomes of the nematode, zebra fish, and mice in the search for genes involving the aging process.  All the 40,000 studied in these different organisms are also found in humans and also suggests a possible common ancestor.  They studied the aging process y observing genes from all stages of life in each organism.
What was found that in different stages of life, these genes are wearing the body down through gene activity.  So, by lowering the gene activity, scientists could lengthen ones life.  This is done by blocking the effect of these genes.  In the bcat-1 gene in nematodes, there was a 25% increase in lifespan when the gene was being blocked.  The next question would be if it works in humans as well.  This is not as simple as nematodes of mice though.  Scientists need to look at the health status of the individual, such as cholesterol and blood sugar.  These could help predict life expectancy but is not always completely accurate. 
This technique is already being used to treat damaged livers in humans, though.   The problem with this, Ristow, one of the internists on the project, states, "However, the point is not for people to grow even older, but rather to stay healthy for longer."  This means that this study could not only extend life expectancies but expend the youthful days of one's life. 
       Click here for the original article.


  1. Although the prospect of longer lives is huge in the eyes of human beings, I believe that genetics must move slowly and cautiously in this field. Humans are living for nearly a century, on average, now, compared to the few decades once lived by the average human hundreds of years ago. The body can only withstand so much wear, and I believe that attempting to lengthen the lives of humans even further could lead to decay and more undiscovered illnesses as the aging process takes over. Although this is great research, it should be taken cautiously.

  2. "This technique is already being used to treat damaged livers in humans, though." technique that can treat damaged organs and help others now survive is remarkable. But is there a coast? Genetically modified ideas can sometimes cause a huge risk. Although i am for this specific GM idea, I think that the study should continue before being able to commit to the public something that might take a wrong turn.