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Science & Technology

Bowhead whales could hold key to longevity

By T.K. Randall
January 4, 2015 · Comment icon 17 comments

Bowhead whales are the world's longest lived mammals. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Olga Shpak
Scientists have identified the genes that enable these aquatic mammals to live in excess of 200 years.
For centuries mankind has been obsessed with finding ways to improve longevity or to reverse the ageing process and with recent advances in modern science and medicine it may not be long before achieving this goal becomes a real possibility.

Now scientists from the US and UK have announced that they have managed to map the entire genome of the bowhead whale, a mammal unique for its extreme longevity with some individuals having lived for more than 200 years.
The science team has even been able to pinpoint the specific genes responsible for things like cancer resistance, DNA damage repair and the species' impressively long lifespan.

UK lead researcher Joao Pedro de Magalhaes believes that this discovery could have the potential to provide similar benefits to humans and that it might one day lead to new drugs and treatments that could increase our own lifespans by a significant degree.

Whether it would be possible for a human to live for two centuries however remains to be seen.

Source: Times of India | Comments (17)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Actually, standing upright and arms stretched apart, the entire human population of the Earth would very easily fit within the U.S. state of Florida.
Comment icon #9 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Even more, the entire human population lying down, arms to their sides, no stacking, would fit into the Tampa, Florida county district.
Comment icon #10 Posted by odiesbsc 10 years ago
Even more, the entire human population lying down, arms to their sides, no stacking, would fit into the Tampa, Florida county district. That's very interesting. Would you provide a link to verify this information? Thanks...
Comment icon #11 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
That's very interesting. Would you provide a link to verify this information? Thanks... I guess I had my city wrong given the explosive population since I first read about this years ago. It's now L.A. as opposed to Tampa... Quote: Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the entire world's population could fit within the 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) of Los Angeles. Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/111031-population-7-billion-earth-world-un-seven/
Comment icon #12 Posted by Harte 10 years ago
I guess I had my city wrong given the explosive population since I first read about this years ago. It's now L.A. as opposed to Tampa... Quote: Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the entire world's population could fit within the 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) of Los Angeles. Source: http://news.national...world-un-seven/ Sure, but where would you put the toilets? Place would therefore be very stinky. Harte
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
Sure, but where would you put the toilets? Place would therefore be very stinky. Harte lol
Comment icon #14 Posted by ROGER 10 years ago
[ ...To live on as we have is to leave behind joy and love and companionship because we know it to be transitory, of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal." " You should embrace this wonderful illusion . " – Lorien A character from Babylon-5 ] If I could stay physically and mentally about 20 to 25 yrs old it may be nice . I'm now 60 and the appeal of long life has long pasted me by .
Comment icon #15 Posted by taniwha 10 years ago
Here is a list of Earths long lived animals...why set our sights so low? Ocean Quahog Some collected specimens have been calculated to be more than 400 years old. These animals show exceptional longevity with a highest reported age, for 'Ming' the clam, of 507 years. It was collected alive by an expedition in 2006 so it may have lived even longer if left in the wild. Immortal Jellyfish One who outlives them all, real name 'Turritopsis Dohrnii', this jellyfish is unique in that it exhibits a certain form of immortality; it can transform itself from an adult back into a baby through a process kn... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Ozfactor 10 years ago
But would you really want to live 200 years? Yes , I would love it , but it would be an expensive business , living 200 years . Would we have to work until we reached the retirement age of 160 ? Would everyone be driving around on electrickety scooters ? .. but yes, yes and yes !
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer 10 years ago
Well, if we could only modify the genes of humans that would go on deep space missions, that would be quite a value. The practicality of this would be quite low unless we engineered the entire genome, which would meet much resistance. We could wind up with a race of "Khans" with no Kirk and Spock to take care of them.


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