Life-Extending Genes Recently Discovered
A team of scientists from ETH Zurich seems to have cracked some of the aging code.
By examining 40,000 genes from three separate organisms, they found out which genes were responsible for the body's aging.
In their study, they explain that by altering just one gene, they can extend the life of life forms in the lab. They are now trying to transfer these findings for human studies.
After they went through thousands of genes, the researchers found that about 1 percent of the genes that belonged to the C. elegans nematode can have an impact on life expectancy. These genes are also found in humans.
Scientists examined 40,000 genes in three organisms: the C. elegans nematode, mice and zebra fish. The scientists conducted genetic screening and found genes regulated in all three organisms at every stage of their lives.
Researchers also studied experiments blocking the mRNA of the related genes and looked at their effects on aging, coming to the conclusion that by blocking some genes, the scientists can extend their lifespans by at least 5 percent.
The bcat-1 gene, especially, was found to be of special importance.
"When we blocked the effect of this gene, it significantly extended the mean lifespan of the nematode by up to 25 percent," Michael Ristow, coordinating author of the study.
Ristow is clear that the research aims not to help people to live longer lives.
"The point is not for people to grow even older, but rather to stay healthy for longer," he said.
Scientists are already examining how they can help people to live better by addressing age-related genes and illnesses.