In an astonishing new research and few experiments conducted on worms, scientists may have figured out secrets a way to extend human lifespan to up to 200 years.
Researchers have carried out a study where they doubled the lifespan of worms. By ‘turning off’ a gene known as DAF-2 in adult worms, the animals lived for the human equivalent of 200 years.
Despite the switched off gene and doubled lifespan, the worms reproduced normally and their offspring were healthier than before and offered hope that longevity would increase ‘down the generation’.
DAF-2 is also known to control human aging. DAF-2 controls a signaling transmitting lover protein known as IGF-1 that is found on membranes of cells. The IGF-1 further controls an organism’s reproduction, growth and longevity.
Lead researcher Alexei Maklakov said, “As expected, we found the worms lived more than two times longer when IGF-1 signaling that ages them was reduced.
Remarkably, we also found their offspring were fitter and produced more offspring themselves. We are really killing two birds with one stone because we are improving the health and longevity of the parents and the fitness of their offspring.”
Maklakov said that people might ‘stay younger for longer’ if the gene was shut down in later life. Understanding how and why we age is fundamental to improving quality of life in an increasingly long-lived society.
“It is often thought we age because of a slow accumulation of unrepaired cellular damage in our bodies – and that ageing is the result of energy trade-offs between growth, reproduction and survival. We now know that switching off the function of certain genes in adulthood can increase longevity without a reproduction cost,” said Maklakov.
The technique can lead us to staying younger and healthier for longer through gene therapy when the genes are ‘shut down’ at the right point in later life.