Researcher: Can people soon be 200 years old?

Will people's life expectancy soon double?

Will we humans achieve a life expectancy of 200 years in the near future through a kind of anti-aging pill? Experts have now apparently found a way to double the life expectancy of worms, can this method also be used in humans?

In their current study, the University of East Anglia scientists developed a way to double the life expectancy of worms. The doctors switched off a gene that is believed to be responsible for physical deterioration. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal “Evolution Letters”.

The positive effect continued from generation to generation

The experts stopped the function of a gene called DAF-2 in a group of 1 mm long worms called Caenorhabditis elegans. As a result of the treatment, the roundworms in the experiment had a life twice as long as was normally the case with these animals. The same long-lived worms also produced healthier, more fertile offspring, which suggests that the benefits continue from generation to generation.

Can longevity be increased?

The scientists explain that the chemical stimulated by this gene controls growth, which makes the animals ready for their reproduction. However, the animals then continue to age without having any advantage in later life. If the amount of chemicals released is reduced once the worm reaches adulthood, the life cycle will slow down. It is often believed that people age due to a slow accumulation of unrepaired cell damage in our bodies, the study's authors say. This aging is the result of balancing energy between growth, reproduction and survival. The new study now knows that switching off the function of certain genes in adulthood can increase longevity without affecting reproduction.

The worms' lifespan increased from three to six weeks

Some genes determine our growth and affect our fertility at an early age. However, if the function of these genes continues unabated later in life, this leads to problems, the doctors suspect. If this theory is true, experts may be able to make people stay young longer by reducing the number of gene signals or by switching these genes off completely later in life. The worms used in the study had an average lifespan of three weeks, but some of the animals lived six weeks or longer in the experiment. The genes of the worms are 80 percent identical to those of humans, the experts explain. Our aging is affected by the accumulation of unrepaired damage in our body, but typical aging problems can also result from suboptimal regulation of gene expression in late life. Understanding the importance of these two processes is important both for our understanding of the evolution of aging and for ways to extend life, the authors say. (as)

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