01/02/2006: Lifespan Research
Now here is some science news we all might find useful one of these days:
Scientists Discover a Gene That Regulates Lifespan:
”…Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging…
A microRNA and the developmental-timing gene it controls, lin-4 and lin-14, affect patterns of cellular development at very specific stages. … Animals with a loss-of-function mutation in lin-4 had a lifespan that was significantly shorter than normal, suggesting that lin-4 prevents premature death. Conversely, over-expressing lin-4 led to a longer lifespan. They also found that a loss–of-function mutation in lin-14, the target of lin-4, caused the opposite effect — a 31 percent longer lifespan.
According to Slack, their results are strong evidence of an “intrinsic biological clock” that runs for aging as well as for normal organ development. Included results showed the developmental programs that these genes regulate are modulated through insulin signaling, demonstrating the connection between insulin-driven metabolism and aging.
“This microRNA is conserved in humans leading to the enticing idea of being able to beneficially affect the results of aging including diseases of aging,” said Slack. Work is under way to identify other microRNAs regulators and genes they target, to determine where they function and whether they behave the same way in mice, and to see if they are altered in human diseases of aging.”
Karen on 01.02.06 @ 11:42 AM CST