Scientists are doing all kinds of experiments with new ideas in order to extend the lifespan on our planet and give us more years of existence. A study which had as subjects mice have come with intriguing results: telomeres can provide us with a longer life.
Telomeres are the repeated sequences of the DNA material that’s found at the tips of every chromosome in the cells of our body. When the DBA replicates during a cell division, these telomeres get shorter and shorter every time, because the replication does not reach the tip of the chromosome.
Their existence protects the genetic material from our chromosomes. Shorter telomeres show that the cells are getting tired. As we age, telomeres get shorter. Studies have tried to keep these telomeres strong and healthy for as long as possible.
Up until now, studies have tried to change the gene expression, but this new research doesn’t say a thing about gene modification. The work is done based on past research. Biologists discovered that, when induced pluripotent stem cells are left in order to divide, they get extra-long telomeres (twice as normal).
This telomere lengthening took place for embryonic stem cells, which are made this way. This means that scientists from the new study used embryonic cells with the long telomeres in order to bred chimeric mice – without modifying them genetically at all.
The findings come with support for the idea that genes are not the only thing to take into account when it comes to determining longevity. It’s not all when it comes to extending life without actually changing the genes.
The experiment worked. The long telomere mice lived 24% longer, they were slimmer, and they were less likely to develop cancer. Some indicators of metabolic aging were lower, too.