Monday, November 28, 2011

Fountain of Youth?

A new study using an old process called acetylation (in which an acetyl group is added to and significantly alters the function of an existing molecule, in this case, a protein) has been made that has unlocked a potential "fountain of youth." Collaborations between Johns Hopkins and National Taiwan University researchers have successfully yielded an increased replicative life span of yeast organisms by almost 50%. In order to do so, Dr Jef Boeke and his team manipulated a "life span clock" protein in yeast organisms, Sip2, that is found in abundance among younger organisms and decreases with age. They showed that the acetylation of this gene resulted in an increase in longevity of the yeast, and then mutated certain chemical residues to mimic the modified gene. Since this aging pathway appears to be related to that of human's, further research is being conducted in hopes of establishing an anti-aging therapy for us as well.

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