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Science & Technology

Deleting genes could extend human lifespan

October 12, 2015 | Comment icon 10 comments



Our genes could hold the key to improved longevity. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 CSIRO
Scientists have identified a potential new way of extending human longevity by up to 60 percent.
The quest for immortality has been going on for centuries, but even with the advances of modern medicine we have still yet to find a way to halt or reverse the inevitable ageing process.

Now however scientists may have made a significant breakthrough in this area thanks to a 10-year research project by the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing and the University of Washington.

The team has succeeded in identifying a total of 238 genes that if switched off could provide a significant boost to a person's expected lifespan - even increasing it by as much as 60%.

"This study looks at aging in the context of the whole genome and gives us a more complete picture of what ageing is," said lead author Dr Brian Kennedy."
"What we have to do now is figure out which [genes] are amenable to targeting."

The discovery follows on from that of scientists at the University of Southern California who earlier this year found a way to slow down ageing through a special diet plan that mimics fasting.

The year before that they also found that fasting can regenerate the immune system and provide a number of other significant health benefits.

Whether these concepts can be adapted for use in the real world however remains to be seen.

Source: Telegraph | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Why? The Earth is over crowded already. Yes, it does sound nice to live longer, but we need to be healthy as well and lower the population growth if we do try this.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Harte 7 years ago
Why? The Earth is over crowded already. If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population, Good night, gentlemen. Harte
Comment icon #3 Posted by Chortle 7 years ago
Whilst you can keep the body alive, what would be the implications for the mind? It would be interesting to ascertain if there is any limit to what the mind could endure. Given the challenges and daily stresses of daily life I wonder if the long term endurance would pose a significant obstruction to longevity in the future.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Anomalocaris 7 years ago
Whilst you can keep the body alive, what would be the implications for the mind? It would be interesting to ascertain if there is any limit to what the mind could endure. Given the challenges and daily stresses of daily life I wonder if the long term endurance would pose a significant obstruction to longevity in the future. In a part of the documentary "Curiosity - Can You Live Forever", Adam Savage addressed the issue of the neurological and psychological implications of being immortal.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Athena1979 7 years ago
The longer we live, the more we can invent. That's when we begin to be forced into space-space stations and colonies on the moon, and all that. That's what over population and human ingenuity will do with the time.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Harte 7 years ago
The longer we live, the more we can invent. That's when we begin to be forced into space-space stations and colonies on the moon, and all that. That's what over population and human ingenuity will do with the time. Yeah, cause knowledge is never passed on to succeeding generations, and old fogies are always better at math and engineering that the young turks.Harte
Comment icon #7 Posted by fred_mc 7 years ago
It is probably not as easy as just switching off genes. I'm sure that those genes have other functions as well besides shortening our life span.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Kattorea 7 years ago
Actually its quite possible the genes they are listing may have been introduced to the body in times past and at this point have become so degraded that they have no use anymore.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Calibeliever 7 years ago
Here's an interesting question: If you had a chance to participate in a trial where they altered your gene(s) to test this, would you?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Harte 7 years ago
Here's an interesting question: If you had a chance to participate in a trial where they altered your gene(s) to test this, would you? Certainly not! Harte


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