A new study has found that select genetic alterations can extend the life span of a worm by up to 500%. The value is considerably higher than it was expected and the researchers who conducted the study believe that the results could contribute to future research that focuses on the human aging process.
Worms like Caenorhabditis elegans can offer a surprising amount of information about the processes which take place within the human body. In comparison to mammals, the worms will live for two to three weeks, a trait that makes them suitable for the observation of various genes and metabolic features that are shared by humans.
Previous research has shown that the alteration of the insulin signaling pathway (IIS) in worms will increase their lifespan by 100%, while modifications of the TOR pathway will offer a 30% increase. During the latest study, the researchers have managed to genetically enhance both pathways in a manner that allowed them to boost the life span by up to four or five times the sum of the combined effects.
Scientists Increased the Lifespan of Worms by 500 Percent
The scientists were fascinated by the synergistic extension as the effect is quite potent. The results infer that a single gene or pathway does not influence aging as a confluence seems to unite them in the long run. Some of the new data could also explain why scientists haven’t managed to discover a gene cellular pathway that could provide a longer life for worms, other animals, or humans.
Tweaks made on both the IIS and the TOR pathways led to a downstream activity that functioned synergistically, encouraging a mitochondrial stress response that promoted longevity. Further research is needed before scientists can determine if the use of such mechanisms will be beneficial for humans, but new research possibilities have been highlighted.
Some progress has been recorded as an upcoming human clinical trial will evaluate the performance of a drug that can delay the appearance of age-related diseases.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.