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Science & Technology

Genetic switch could halt the aging process

July 26, 2015 | Comment icon 22 comments



The developments could lead to a way to extend life while staying healthier for longer. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists may have found a way to halt aging in humans by discovering a way to do it in worms.
Two scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois have identified a genetic switch in a species of transparent roundworm that appears to disable the stress responses designed to protect cells by keeping certain important proteins functioning.

The switch is thrown automatically when the worms reach early adulthood but by re-enabling it the worms have the potential to live longer and to stay much healthier throughout their adult lives.

The researchers believe that these same mechanisms exist in all animals, including humans.
"Wouldn't it be better for society if people could be healthy and productive for a longer period during their lifetime ?" said senior author Richard I. Morimoto. "I am very interested in keeping the quality control systems optimal as long as we can, and now we have a target."

"Our findings suggest there should be a way to turn this genetic switch back on and protect our aging cells by increasing their ability to resist stress."

In the worms the onset of adulthood and the flipping of the switch begins after just eight hours, a discovery that casts doubt on the notion that this is something that occurs gradually over time.

"All these stress pathways that insure robustness of tissue function are essential for life, so it was unexpected that a genetic switch is literally thrown eight hours into adulthood," said Morimoto.

Source: Phys.org | Comments (22)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by Mikko-kun 7 years ago
They have already succeeded this in mice, but they wont comercialize it. Don know y. Mayb anything thats sci-fi they wont sell.. Can't let the sheep get smart. If you live a long healthy life, there's too much of a risk you'll get wise enough to make the world a better place = free of slavery = hurt the business of oligark business tycoon tyrants, big pharma big gmo big military industry you name it. You can't patent plain organic so it's bad business for them, that why they just gotta have some kinda technology on medicine & food. This is tech so it's good for them, but they gotta figure ... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Gingitsune 7 years ago
I don't need a 'halt' switch...I need a 'reverse' switch! A halt switch should keep you well long enough to still be around when the reverse switch will come about. ^_~
Comment icon #15 Posted by grandfunkrailroad 7 years ago
Yeah we All get to live to be a thousand, of course this means you will have to work till your 995 years old to receive your pension
Comment icon #16 Posted by Brok 7 years ago
Yes but we still need to technology to be able to survive the trip. Doesn't matter if we stop aging or get replacement everything, the radiation alone would kill us before we got 1/10 of the way there. First we need to colonize planets and moons like Mars, Titan, Europa etc. Spread out the race a bit and then work out deep space and once we have the technology, then make people "immortal" because then we can just send then which ever way we want. You're right. I guess we should withhold any medicine, treatments and advancements that could extend people's lives until we can populate other plane... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 7 years ago
You're right. I guess we should withhold any medicine, treatments and advancements that could extend people's lives until we can populate other planets. In fact, we should stop producing medicine of any kind. That will ensure that people in general have shorter lifespans and help fight overpupulation. Because screw people. OR, you know, we could NOT take the psychopathic path and concentrate on solving the problems brought by overpopulation WITHOUT withholding medicine and advancements that can prolong people's lifespans. And how would you suggest we stop population growth? 1st world countries... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 7 years ago
So Brok, I'm still waiting for your solution to population growth or are you just the type of person to hide back in the shadows when you are confronted with a answer you can't combat?
Comment icon #19 Posted by Mr Supertypo 7 years ago
how about taxing children? the more children you make, the more taxes you are going to pay. And as incentive, no taxes for xx years to couples who decide to not have children? I dont know. About the 'not aging people' how about forced sterilization to the people who go for the AA treatment?
Comment icon #20 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 7 years ago
how about taxing children? the more children you make, the more taxes you are going to pay. And as incentive, no taxes for xx years to couples who decide to not have children? I dont know. About the 'not aging people' how about forced sterilization to the people who go for the AA treatment? Oh no, we can't have forced sterilization, that would be inhumane according to Brok As for the taxing for children, I don't believe that would work because of the simple fact that the less educated more often than not have the most kids. That would just be another way for the poor to stay poor imo. It reall... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by questionmark 7 years ago
Why does Zardoz spring to mind?
Comment icon #22 Posted by Zalmoxis 7 years ago
So you are saying that No Stress = No Aging.


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