Have Scientists Mapped the Ageless Gene?
Technology Articles 10/16/11
By: Chris Capps
These days gene mapping is not a new thing. The human genome has been mapped for several years along with the genomes of several different organisms. But now researchers mapping the genes of an elderly woman who reached the age of 115 may hold the secret to unlocking the trick of old age.
There are currently many theories behind old age, and how to achieve it. Of course healthy living has always been considered one of the most sure-fire ways of boosting your ability to live a long time while you're already here. But scientists may one day unlock the secret to living fully and healthily with the other key component - good genes. At least that's what they hope after examining the genome of at least one woman who had managed to live over a century.
Scientists in Amsterdam have been intrigued by the longevity of one woman, whose name has not been released, and they intend to find out just what keeps her going. Referring to her only as W115, the geneticists have decoded the enigma flowing in her veins. And they think they have found enough to warrant further study. When she died of a stomach tumor, researchers discovered that she showed no signs of arterial buildup or arteriosclerosis. Instead, she was found to have a number of traits that appeared to have no signs of aging at all.
But before we let this genie out of the bottle, a few questions remain about the prospect of an ever increasing longevity for humans. If age were to be treated as a disease with a definable cure, then we may one day be able to hold it back as scientists have in the past with illnesses such as polio. The World Health Organization spearheaded a campaign to wipe out Polio by the year 2000, and in many parts of the world were successful. What if a similar campaign were developed with a vaccine for old age?
Of course aging is a bit different from Polio. Unlike other illnesses, the propensity to age is an ailment that most living beings possess and all humans. If it were to suddenly disappear, we may soon find ourselves running into a few problems. But then we could take into consideration the potential benefits of treatments like these as well. Imagine if life was not seen as a quite so temporary state of being. Imagine if some of the greatest minds in the world had been preserved in order to continue their work long after their time had passed, only increasing in their level of skill and further developing their theories? What if Einstein had been given an additional 40 or 50 years to bring together his research and bring it to others?
Could we -in effect- speed up our development as a species by keeping those minds who have benefited us most working? Could we in essence save our own world from the potential drawbacks of this ongoing cycle of renewal while still preserving the benefits?
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