Scientists have found cellular pathways that extend the lifespan in a nematode. Such extended lifespan is four to five times more in this model.
The study conducted in collaboration with scientists from MDI laboratories, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and Nanjing University, has identified pathways in Chaenorhabitidis elegans that extend their lifespans by fivefold. This increase is equivalent to 400-500 years of a human lifespan, which would be a major breakthrough in the field of aging. The pathways that govern aging are passed down in the evolution tree to humans. Therefore, factors that prevent aging are recent field of interest with drugs being developed towards it.
The research, and applied to humans
The research is based on the double mutant signaling pathway where insulin signaling and TOR pathways are genetically altered. A significant alteration in insulin signaling should yield a 100 percent increase in life span. Also, alteration of the pathway should yield a 30 percent increase. Therefore, this double mutant alteration should yield a 130 percent increase. Instead, the increase in lifespan was recorded to be more than 500 percent, which is almost five times the usual lifespan.
This is a key discovery as it might help increase the longevity of humans. This is due to the fact that this nematode model shares many similar genes to that of human beings. Therefore, this will significantly help to roll out researches that will help in extending the lifespan of humans suffering from AIDS, cancer, etc. In addition, this also explains the fact why scientists are not able to point out a single gene responsible for aging.
A comparative study on the genomics of humans and the exact mechanism of action between these genes needs to be explored. Therefore, that will help us formulate drugs that may increase the lifespan of the individual in the near future.
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