Worm Aging, Sequences like Human’s

Longevity. Some wish for it, and others despise the thought. The latest (2019)life expectancy statistics for European males is 75 years, and for females is 82 years. However, some believe that humans once could live much older, into the hundreds of years. If one is to believe the Old testament, then the likes of Adam and Noah lived to over 900 years old; whereas Abraham and Moses lived to over 100 years old. In a sense, more recently and maybe better documented, we have the Italian nun, ScolasticaOliveri, who lived to 130 years.

A search for ‘eternal beauty’, or at least to look like so, is almost congenital for many people world-wide. It is, therefore, no wonder that the cosmetics industry is worth an estimated $ 532 billion, according to Business Insider , and it is growing extremely rapidly.

A research published in the journal Cell Reports, by Lan and colleagues (Buck Institute for Research on Aging, MDI Biological Laboratory) had demonstrated that by altering two metabolic pathways of the worm C. elegans, the lifespan of the worm was increased by a factor of 5. If we are to successfully perform this on humans, the average lifespan of European men could be 375 years, and European woman 410 years. This study is well summarised in the Science Daily article, published in January 2020

Such a result from this study is a surprise, and excitement, to the scientific world, as it must have been for the scientists who performed the study. The two metabolic pathways were known to increase the lifespan of the worm by 100% and 30% each. The idea was that if both pathways were altered simultaneously, logically, the worm would reach a lifespan of 130% greater than their normal span. When it was clear the worms lived 5 times longer, the realisation of the complexity of ageing was a reality.

Humans and C. elegans share the same metabolic pathways for ageing, hence the worms being the key model organism for research. A ‘treatment’ of ageing by targeting several metabolic pathways makes sense to the modern medical world, as modern medicine is already moving towards the power of combination-treatments. As such, the first anti-ageing treatment doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

The question is, do you want to live to 400 years?