Want to live 400 years? These simple nematode worms might show humans how – SYFY WIRE

Posted: January 15, 2020 at 1:42 pm

While we embark on yetanother trip around the sun entering a new decade in 2020, thoughts naturally stray to our own mortality and ways we can improve future days via simple changes in our diet, exercise, and stress levels. But the generic nematode worm might hold clues to extending our Earthly lives far beyond the dreams of our imagination, or the furthest reaches of any insurance company actuary report.

In a new studypublished in the online journalCell Reports, a team ofinternational researchers has discovered methods to increase the lifespan of the lowly C. elegans worm by five times, long after its normal three or four week lifecycle. If these findings were successfully applied to human beings, that person would experiencethe equivalent of blowing out 400 birthday candles on a celebratory cake.That's a big cake, and scientists associated with the startling project see the data as a vital stage in someday seeing it asreality.

By genetically manipulatinginsulin/insulin-likesignaling pathways in molecules insidenematode cells, researchers have built upon previous findings linking two specific pathways the insulin signaling pathway and the target of rapamycin pathway tothe aging process. Scientists then determinedthat changing the insulinpathway doubled a worms longevity, while altering the rapamycin pathway only increasedit 30 percent.

However, in what came as an obvious surprise to the team, when both C. elegans pathways were altered, this boosted their lifespans up to a whopping 500 percent instead of 130 percent.

The synergistic extension is really wild, MDI Biological Laboratory's lead study author Jarod Rollins said in apress release. The effect isnt one plus one equals two, its one plus one equals five. Our findings demonstrate that nothing in nature exists in a vacuum; in order to develop the most effective anti-aging treatments we have to look at longevity networks rather than individual pathways.

Due to the number of shared genes and cellular pathways, C. elegans are perfect for carrying out advanced research on human aging and cutting-edgeexperiments in life extension. And because of their brieflifespans, immediate changes in their aging can be observed more readily. The logical progression of this newfound information would be to apply the resulting knowledge to Mankind in order to greater understand our own mortality and its eventual limitations.

Despite the discovery in C. elegans of cellular pathways that govern aging, it hasnt been clear how these pathways interact, MDI Biological Laboratory President Hermann Haller added. By helping to characterize these interactions, our scientists are paving the way for much-needed therapies to increase healthy lifespan for a rapidly aging population.

Are you prepared to live nearly half a millennium, or satisfiedwith a solid 80 years or soon our spinningBig Blue Marble?

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Want to live 400 years? These simple nematode worms might show humans how - SYFY WIRE

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