What's the extent of human longevity; how long could people expect to live? Latest research is putting that at between 400 and 500 years, and scientists have identified cellular pathways that could make that a reality.
Anti-ageing science has focused on finding the single gene that could help us live longer, but the new research has discovered it's not a gene but two cellular pathways that determine longevity, and these pathways have a magnified effect when they work together.
Researchers from the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory have manipulated the two pathways—IIS (insulin signalling) and TOR—that they calculate could improve longevity 130 percent, but the synergistic effect means that longevity improves 500 percent. Applied to humans, this would give us the capacity to live for four to five hundred years.
"The synergistic extension is really wild," said researcher Jarod Rollins, who based his research on the C.elegans worm, traditionally used in anti-ageing research.
"The effect isn't one plus one equals two, it's one plus one equals five. In order to develop the most effective anti-ageing treatments we have to look at longevity networks rather than individual pathways."
The discovery opens the door to a range of longevity therapies—some drug-based, some not—that focus on the pathways and their interplay. Despite the discovery, the researchers agree with earlier research that the mitochondria, the universe of bacteria, plays a key role in ageing, and dysfunctional mitochondria speed the usual symptoms of ageing.
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