A Wrinkle in Time; Do You Have to Age? How Science Is Finding Ways to Help Your Cells Say No
Byline: Mary Carmichael and Jennifer Barrett Ozols
Though death is still as inevitable as taxes, future generations may age more slowly and live significantly longer. Here are five scientists in the vanguard of research, offering new insights into the biochemistry of aging--and opening the door for life-lengthening drugs. Their approaches vary, but they share the belief that the human life span is not fixed.
Enhanced: TARGETED GENES ARE MORE ACTIVE IN FIGHTING AGING
The "guess your age" booth at a carnival isn't often exactly right. But it's not usually as off-base as Cynthia Kenyon's colleagues. A few years ago Kenyon, a molecular geneticist, had one of her grad students cart a tray of worms around her lab, asking people how old they thought the worms were. Most said about 5 days. What they didn't know was that Kenyon had tinkered with the worms' genes. The squirmy creatures had the perfect health of 5-day-olds, but they were 144 days old--six times their normal life span.
Over the last decade, Kenyon's continuing work has shown that "you can make huge changes in life span so easily"--in worms, at least--by changing hormone levels and enhancing the effects of fewer than 100 genes. Some of the target genes produce antioxidants; some make natural microbicides; some are involved in transporting fats throughout the body, and some, called chaperones, "keep the cell components in good working order," says Kenyon. What they all have in common is their effect on …
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Publication information: Article title: A Wrinkle in Time; Do You Have to Age? How Science Is Finding Ways to Help Your Cells Say No. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Newsweek. Publication date: January 17, 2005. Page number: 50. © 2009 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission: www.newsweek.com. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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