Deleting Genes Could Boost Lifespan by 60 Percent, Say Scientists
The secret of extending life by decades may lie in switching off certain genes, scientists believe, after showing that small genetic tweaks can make organisms live 60 percent longer. Ten years of research by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of Washington has identified 238 genes that, when silenced, increase the lifespan of yeast cells. Many of the genes are present in mammals, including humans, suggesting that switching them off could dramatically increase lifespan. “This study looks at aging in the context of the whole genome and gives us a more complete picture of what aging is,” said lead author Dr. Brian Kennedy. “Almost half of the genes we found that affect aging are conserved in mammals. Our best results were single gene deletions that increased lifespan by around 60 percent compared to normal yeast. In theory, any of these factors could be therapeutic targets to extend health span. What we have to do now is figure out which ones are amenable to targeting.” To determine which genes were responsible for aging, researchers examined 4,698 strains of yeast, each with a single gene deletion and then monitored how long cells lived for before they stopped dividing.
They found that deleting a gene called LOS1 produced particularly impressive results, extending life by 60 percent. LOS1 is linked to a genetic master switch which has long been associated with calorie restriction through fasting and increased lifespan.
Source/more: London Telegraph
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