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Are lobsters the key to immortality ?

Posted on Monday, 16 September, 2013 | Comment icon 38 comments

Older lobsters can grow to impressive sizes. Image Credit: NOAA

Scientists are attempting to learn the secret to immortality through an enzyme found in lobsters.

Lobsters might not seem to be the most resilient of species when you consider their status as a restaurant delicacy, but these sea-bound crustaceans do have one trick up their sleeve that sets them apart from other animals.

While they are still capable of dying from illness or injury, lobsters are impervious to the passage of time and do not succumb to age-related ailments, in effect rendering them "biologically immortal".

In the hope that understanding this trait could lead to immortality in humans, researchers have been attempting to determine exactly what it is that makes them ageless. The key, it is believed, is an enzyme called telomerase that is able to rejuvenate their cells indefinitely.

This mechanism is so effective in fact that lobsters 60 or 70 years old appear just as fertile and pristine as specimens several decades younger. If it were possible to reproduce this enzyme for use in humans then it could potentially lead to the discovery of a way to halt the aging process completely.

Source: The Week | Comments (38)

Tags: Immortality, Lobster

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by spud the mackem on 17 September, 2013, 9:36
When you retire the Gov't hopes you will die soon eo they dont have to pay you're pension.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Big Bad Voodoo on 17 September, 2013, 10:32
There is more mysteries around Lobsters then this. They are amazing animals. They are important to physics aswell. Big Bad Voodoo
Comment icon #31 Posted by Emeraldgemheart on 17 September, 2013, 19:32
Immortality wouldn't be so amazing as it sounds. If you had the power to live forever, you would have to watch every one you care about grow old and die. Not sounding good now, is it?
Comment icon #32 Posted by pallidin on 17 September, 2013, 22:42
If "immortality" includes my family and friends, no, it would not be a problem. If it only was for myself, I can certainly see the psychological pain, like parents grieving over their children's sudden or disease death. But the pain ends. Imagine, if you will, the potential for extraordinary mental maturity with extended longevity. The aspect of extraordinary psychosis is also likely to occur. Hard call.
Comment icon #33 Posted by Emeraldgemheart on 20 September, 2013, 11:55
I'd rather die with my family, then live without them But if they are included in the immortality thing then yeah.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Talion on 24 September, 2013, 22:29
I knew there's a reason there such a tasty critter.
Comment icon #35 Posted by tagace1 on 27 September, 2013, 3:54
I wouldn't really want immortality. I think eventually you would lose respect for human life and become bored. Then you would spend your time trying to reverse it
Comment icon #36 Posted by Frank Merton on 27 September, 2013, 4:12
I'm willing to concede that might happen and would want an escape clause, but I doubt it.
Comment icon #37 Posted by kevex on 27 September, 2013, 23:00
If my family can be immortal too then I would love to.
Comment icon #38 Posted by skookum on 3 October, 2013, 19:03
Not for me. When I was younger the thought of dieing was terrifying, as I got older it became more accepted. Although I am probably still considered relatively young in today's life expectancy I can feel the fatigue physically and mentally more and more. The thought of going on longer than a natural life is more concerning than death to me.
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