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Partial Reversal of Aging Achieved in Mice

Researchers led by Harvard Medical School geneticist Ronald A. DePinho have managed to partially reverse the physical degeneration that results from aging:

[...] they achieved the milestone in aging science by engineering mice with a controllable telomerase gene. The telomerase enzyme maintains the protective caps called telomeres that shield the ends of chromosomes.

As humans age, low levels of telomerase are associated with progressive erosion of telomeres, which may then contribute to tissue degeneration and functional decline in the elderly. By creating mice with a telomerase switch, the researchers were able to generate prematurely aged mice. The switch allowed the scientists to find out whether reactivating telomerase in the animals would restore telomeres and mitigate the signs and symptoms of aging. The work showed a dramatic reversal of many aspects of aging, including reversal of brain disease and infertility.


Link via Gizmodo | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user woodly wonder works used under Creative Commons license

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Sucks for those of us who were born without a modified 'immortality' genes. Man, wouldn't that just make the new round of children so much more obnoxious!

As it is, for now we'll just make do with oscillating mice.

I wonder if the mice's memories are erased? As in the smoothing of brain wrinkles, etc?
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I see it ending much like the novel Glory Road where all those who are now "immortal" must pay a tax to keep living. Though hopefully it will end up more like the rest of Heinlein's series and we will have a Lazarus Long to help guide us.
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