After ten years of research aimed at studying the issue of aging, scientists have obtained a list of 238 specific genes. Tests and experiments carried out in laboratory conditions have shown that removing them significantly prolongs the life of yeast cells. Depending on the circumstances and conditions, the test cells lived up to 60% longer.
If such genetic intervention can be reproduced in humans, which is quite realistic – many of these genes are present in more complex forms of life than yeast – we can significantly increase the lifespan of people by slowing down or completely turning off some of the genetic aging processes inherent in us. “This study looks at aging in the context of the entire genome and gives us a better understanding of what aging is, as such,” said Brian Kennedy, President and CEO of The Buck Institute for Research on Aging), as well as the lead author of the study. “The findings provide us with a basis for identifying all the factors that generally affect the aging of the body.” Together with researchers from the University of Washington, scientists from the Buck Institute studied the development of 4,698 yeast strains, each of which had one of the genes removed. Scientists kept records of the number of cells in each case to track their lifespan and the final number of daughter cells after division. “We had a special microscope with a needle that we used to mark daughter cells after dividing and ultimately find out how many times the mother’s cell was divided,” Kennedy said. “We had several microscopes that were working around the clock.” This process was very laborious, but it paid off. Researchers have identified 238 genes that are responsible for yeast aging, and when removed, the lifespan of the experimental material increased. A small number of genes directly affect aging itself , while 189 out of 238 are responsible for processes that indirectly affect life expectancy. As a result, the data obtained give a fairly complete picture of how this process proceeds in yeast in the aggregate. “Nearly half of the genes we discovered are present in mammals, including humans,” Kennedy said. “In theory, any of them can be the target of a therapeutic effect to increase life expectancy and maintain health. Now we have to figure out which of these genes can be affected. ” In theory, there are many ways to combat human aging, but it is necessary to find out which genes of a person are amenable to the necessary changes. Removing some of the yeast genes has produced stunning results. For example, researchers found that removing the LOS1 gene for yeast prolongs yeast life by 60%. The LOS1 gene is involved in protein synthesis and is also linked to other genes that are responsible for controlling DNA damage and limiting calories from the cell.