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A scientific breakthrough could mean humans live for hundreds of years

Who wants to live for ever? A scientific breakthrough could mean humans live for hundreds of years

By tweaking our DNA, we could soon survive for hundreds of years – if we want to. Steve Connor reports on a breakthrough that has the science world divided

Wednesday, 23 January 2008E

A genetically engineered organism that lives 10 times longer than normal has been created by scientists in California. It is the greatest extension of longevity yet achieved by researchers investigating the scientific nature of ageing.

If this work could ever be translated into humans, it would mean that we might one day see people living for 800 years. But is this ever going to be a realistic possibility?

Valter Longo is one of the small but influential group of specialists in this area who believes that an 800-year life isn’t just possible, it is inevitable. It was his work at the University of Southern California that led to the creation of a strain of yeast fungus that can live for 10 weeks or more, instead of dying at its usual maximum age of just one week.

By deleting two genes within the yeast’s genome and putting it on a calorie-restricted diet, Longo was able to extend tenfold the lifespan of the same common yeast cells used by bakers and brewers. The study is published later this week in the journal Public Library of Science Genetics. There is, of course, a huge difference between yeast cells and people, but that hasn’t stopped Longo and his colleagues suggesting that the work is directly relevant to human ageing and longevity. “We’re setting the foundation for reprogramming healthy life.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/who-wants-to-live-for-ever-a-scientific-breakthrough-could-mean-humans-live-for-hundreds-of-years-772418.html

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