On Searching For the Mechanisms of Longevity

Some interesting speculation on longevity genes across species: "The maximum longevity of different species can vary by 100-fold in mammals and by 1,000-fold or more from invertebrates to mammals. However, the life extension effect of single gene mutations or dietary restriction converges on a comparatively minute 1.3- to 1.6-fold difference with controls. It is proposed that this can be due to organization of genes affecting maximum life span in large clusters functionally linked by complex interactions ... A relatively small number of master genes would control the activity of the structural target genes of the whole cluster, strongly facilitating changes in longevity during species evolution. Experimentally manipulating the expression of those master genes would have the potential to increase maximum longevity to a much higher extent than the options available nowadays. ... Fortunately for gerontology, the first highly reliable completed genomes were those of the laboratory rodents and humans, mammals with strongly different maximum longevities, 3-4 years and 122 years, respectively. Comparing them focusing on longevity will help to discover the longevity gene cluster." Should things turn out to work that way, of course - looking for points of simplicity in biology has often proven to be wishful thinking.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17972157

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