On the Genetic Regulation of Longevity

A paper at PLoS Genetics gives a good idea of the present thrust of much mainstream aging research: genes, metabolism and the possibility of altering them for the better. "The lifespan of an animal is determined by both environmental and genetic factors, and many of the mechanisms identified to increase lifespan are evolutionarily conserved across organisms. ... We identified 64 genes that can extend lifespan when inactivated postdevelopmentally. More than 90% of the genes we identified are conserved from yeast to humans. Many of the newly identified longevity genes extend lifespan as robustly as the most well-characterized longevity mutants. It is possible that the homologues of these genes may also regulate lifespan in other organisms as well. Genetic analysis places some of these genes in known pathways regulated by insulin-like signaling, although many of these gene inactivations function independently of this mechanism of lifespan extension. Surprisingly, a subset of these gene inactivations that induce potent developmental arrest also facilitate enhanced survival in the arrested state, suggesting that aging at any stage may be subject to regulatory control."

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.0030056

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