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Science & Technology

Scientists extend lifespan of worms by 500%

By T.K. Randall
January 12, 2020 · Comment icon 10 comments

Could the same thing be done in humans ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Nogas1974
A new study has found that a few simple genetic changes can make worms live much, much longer.
Mankind has been obsessed with gaining immortality for thousands of years, but even despite the incredible advances in science and medicine achieved over the last few centuries, our species still remains just as vulnerable to the aging process as our ancestors were millions of years ago.

In recent years however, scientists have been starting to understand just what it is that makes us age and how changes to our genetics might one day make it possible to extend our lives indefinitely.

One recent study involved making simple genetic changes to Caenorhabditis elegans - a type of worm that typically only lives for two or three weeks, making it an ideal candidate for experimentation.

Previously scientists found that they were able to increase the lifespan of these worms by altering their insulin signalling pathways or by making changes to their TOR (target of rapamycin) pathways.
Now they have found a way to combine these methods in such a way so as to extend the lifespan of the worms by as much as 500 percent - a significant figure if it could ever be achieved in humans.

The research demonstrates that aging is not down to one specific gene or pathway but a combination of many all working together over a long period of time.

The findings could help scientists better pinpoint the genetic changes that could lead to major increases in human lifespan as well.

"The synergistic extension is really wild," said molecular biologist Jarod Rollins.

"The effect isn't one plus one equals two, it's one plus one equals five."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
There doesnt seem to be any internet articles explaining exactly why they were able to extend worm lifespans so dramatically. But bearing in mind they have bred worms with mutant IIS and mTOR pathways it would appear to be some worms that dont produce any insulin in response to the food they eat. 500% is impressive, there was a similar experiment with mice which got them living up to 10x longer although most went nearer the x5 mark. We cannot genetically engineer humans yet to produce no insulin. And its not just a case of removing a persons pancreas because it performs other vital functions b... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Comment icon #3 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
Yes, its mTOR (m is for the mammalian version) inhibition if it perfectly translates across to our species. We can mimic that in our diets although not to the same degree as can be achieved by mutating our genes. Sugar/carb starvation, caffeine, resveratrol, various diabetes drugs, low oxygen, dehydration, etc. I wonder if its possible to do alternate day eating where we eat carbs one day but starve the next. And on our eating days also make them our dehydration days. Mmm.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Im confused... So being diabetic is supposed to make you live longer? Lies.
Comment icon #5 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1: A person no longer produces insulin meaning they require injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. This is a dangerous condition without insulin injections where eating something with anything more than a few teaspoons of sugar in it risks death. Type 2: A person has lost their sensitivity to insulin requiring higher levels of it which are injected to regulate their blood sugar levels. Without it their blood sugar can become dangerously high risking death. Obviously it is very hard to live life as a diabetic without insulin injections with there ... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Ok i was following up to the part where you said i don't think diabetics dont recieve insulin via injection... Of course i am well aware of that.  The article said that lifespans were extended by turning off insulin production, so i equated that with diabetes. Why is everyone on this site so caught up with telling me that i think some nonsense instead of reading what i wrote. Well thanks for the explanation regardless, even if it had to include the ever present narrow viewed projection of what you say i think.  Also why powder? I don't like sugar or carbs anyways, but why would choking down ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
My understanding isn't that insulin was turned off, it was they meddled in the worm genetics do that it didnt activate their TOR pathways responsible for metabolism. In essence, the worm thinks its undergoing starvation at a cellular level despite being on a normal diet. Meal replacement powders exist which are nutritionally complete but have very low or no sugar/carbs. An example being: There will also be ones where someone can get it below 14g carb of which is 3.3g sugar per serving. PHD is the lowest m... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by RabidMongoose 4 years ago
Mean replacement powder in water (needs all daily vitamins and minerals and nutrients, and as close to zero sugar and carbs that you can get)  + Lots of lard or ghee or clarified butter (fat as the main source of energy) + Super fruit anti-oxidant powder and black coffee (the benefits of a plant based diet without the sugar and carbs) = Living centuries  
Comment icon #9 Posted by joc 4 years ago
It doesn't matter what we eat or drink or how we exercise....what kills us long term is Gravity...I don't think there is much of a solution for that.
Comment icon #10 Posted by jbondo 4 years ago
Whatever! We all have to admit, our real interest lies in extending the human lifespan. This is where we hit a wall. There is never going to be a time when the average person is given some sort of gene therapy, or a drug, etc... to make them live for 150 years or more. This would result in gross overpopulation and the elites in control of everything seem to believe (IMO) there are already far too many humans. If something was ever available, we'd never hear about it. Oh, we'll always get these advances of the future articles, but it's like a concept car. Never going to come to market. In fact,... [More]

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