Immortality Chase

50% Longer Lifespan Is Possible

Immortality Chase. Healthy Living Magazine

Immortality Chase. Healthy Living Magazine

One day we will switch on the gene that destroys unhealthy cells unlocking the secret of immortality, according to researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland, who’ve done just that to prolong the lifespan of flies. Their study appears in Cell.

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“Our bodies are composed of several trillion cells,”says Eduardo Moreno,head of the institute of cell biology at the university, “and during aging those cells accumulate random errors due to stress or external insults, like UV-light from the sun. Because some cells are more affected than others, we reasoned that selecting the less affected cells and eliminating the damaged ones could be a good strategy to maintain tissue health and therefore delay aging and prolong lifespan.”

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Drosophila melanogaster flies were used with the team identifying the cells within organs that looked healthiest. They noticed that among the healthy cells a certain genetic trait was strongly expressed by a set of genes they called ahuizotl (azot). The name is taken from Aztec myth of a creature who attacks only fishing boats on lakes to keep the target species’ populations at healthy levels. Similarly, azot targets the cells that are enemies of the whole organ and maintains the organ’s integrity

3 genes more powerful

The researchers injected a third gene into the cells of the fruit flies, augmenting the power of the two already there. The injections rejuvenated the tissues of the fruit flies. “Our flies had median lifespans 50 to 60% longer than normal flies,” Christa Rhiner, a study author, said.

human longevity

The azot gene is also part of our human chromosomes. Use of gene augmentation with azot in the future could alleviate diseases of aging including brain and heart deterioration, say the researchers.

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REFERENCE Merino MM, Rhiner C, Lopez-Gay JM, Buechel D, Hauert B, Moreno E. Elimination of Unfit Cells Maintains Tissue Health and Prolongs Lifespan. Cell, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.017
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