The Earnest Search For Longevity Mechanisms

The work of Genescient provides good insight into what the search for longevity genes - and biological mechanisms of metabolism connected to aging - looks like these days. As more automation is applied to the search, the pace of discovery is picking up: "Using genetically selected long lived Drosophila and the latest genetic tools, Genescient has identified over 100 gene networks that are altered in long lived strains of Drosophila melanogaster and that are also linked to longevity and age-related diseases in humans ... We then make maps of networks pointing to the genes appearing in our proprietary list and their relationships. This elucidates possible human therapeutics to treat chronic diseases of aging and improve function. Once found, we then quickly test these compounds in Drosophila for their effects on median lifespan, background mortality, and the rate of aging at different doses. ... Because the selected Drosophila genetic pathways are also linked to conserved age-related disease genes in humans, direct therapeutic effects on human health can be expected. In our first attempts at selection using this screening procedure, we have already initially tested 13 compounds on normal flies. We found 12 that extend significantly the normal Drosophila lifespan, reduce background mortality rates, or slow the rate of aging."



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