A new study found that some simple changes in genetics could make worms live much, much longer, reports sciencealert.com.
Humanity has been obsessed with gaining immortality for thousands of years, but despite the incredible progress made in medicine and science in the last few centuries, our species remains as vulnerable to the process of aging as our ancestors were millions of years ago.
However, in recent years, scientists have begun to understand just what makes us age, and how modifications to our genetics might one day allow us to extend our lives indefinitely.
One recent research involved making small genetic changes to Caenorhabditis elegans-a type of worm that normally only lives for two or three weeks, making it a perfect experimental candidate.
Scientists have previously found that they have been able to increase the lifespan of these worms by altering their insulin signaling pathways or by making changes to their TOR (rapamycin target) pathways.
Now they’ve figured out a way to merge these methods in such a way as to extend the worms ‘ lifespan by as much as 500 percent-a significant figure if it could ever be achieved in humans.
Research shows that aging is not a single gene or pathway but a combination of many all working together over a long period of time.
The discoveries could help scientists better identify the genetic changes which could also lead to significant increases in human lifespan.
“The synergistic extension is really wild,” said molecular biologist Jarod Rollins.
“The effect isn’t one plus one equals two, it’s one plus one equals five.”