Scientists crack the riddle of aging: Gene length is the determining factor

Scientists believe they have discovered the secret of aging.

A large genetic analysis of people, rodents and fish found that the length of their DNA is directly related to their biological age.

Shorter genes were associated with shorter lifespans, while longer genes were associated with better health and longevity.

Scientists believe that if they can hijack this mechanism, it could pave the way for a fountain of youthful drugs that could slow — or even reverse — aging.

Dr. Thomas Stoeger, lead author of the study from Northwestern University in Illinois, said: ‘I find it very remarkable that a single, relatively brief principle seems to explain almost all of the changes in gene activity that occur in animals as they are. age.’

Scientists have said that having longer genes can lead someone to live longer (stock image)

The length of a gene depends on the number of nucleotides it contains. Each nucleotide chain is translated into an amino acid, making up a protein.

So a very long gene produces a large protein, while a short gene produces a small protein. A cell needs a balanced number of small and large proteins for homeostasis, and problems occur when that balance gets out of control.

In the study, the researchers looked at genetic data from several large data sets, including the Tissue Gene Expression Project, a tissue bank funded by the National Institutes of Health that archives samples from human donors for research purposes.

The research team first analyzed tissue samples from mice, rats, and killifish of different ages.

In all of the animals, the researchers observed subtle changes in thousands of different genes across the samples.

This means that it is not just a small subset of genes that contribute to aging. Instead, aging is characterized by changes at the systems level.

This view differs from mainstream biological approaches that study the effects of single genes.

Since the advent of modern genetics in the early 20th century, many researchers have expected to be able to attribute many complex biological phenomena to single genes.

And while some diseases, such as hemophilia, are caused by single gene mutations, the narrow approach to studying single genes has not yet led to explanations for the many changes that occur in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

After completing their research on animals, the researchers turned their attention to humans. They studied changes in human genes from the ages of 30 to 49, from 50 to 69 and then 70 and older.

Measurable changes in gene activity according to gene length had already occurred by the time humans reached middle age.

“Something really does seem to happen early in life, but becomes more noticeable with age,” said Dr. Stoeger.

A study found that men age faster than women

Experts claim that men age faster than women.

Anti-aging researchers found that men in their 50s were biologically four years older than their female counterparts, on average.

And the gap already exists in our 20s, according to the first study of its kind.

The scientists compared the chronological age of thousands of volunteers — the number of birthdays they had — against their biological age.

This was done using tests that estimate body deterioration based on accurate markers linked to our DNA.

It appears that our cells, at an early age, are able to cope with disorders that may lead to an imbalance in genetic activity. Then, all of a sudden, our cells can no longer handle it.

“The finding for humans is very robust because we have more samples of humans than other animals,” said Luis Amaral of Northwestern University, a senior author of the study.

It was also interesting because all the mice we studied are genetically identical, of the same sex and raised in the same laboratory conditions, but humans are all different.

They all died of different causes and at different ages. We analyzed samples from men and women separately and found the same pattern.

But scientists have found that as cells age inside cells shift toward shorter genes, upsetting the balance.

This is counterbalanced in people with very long genes, because they have longer proteins available in the cells.

‘The changes in gene activity are very, very small,’ said Dr. Stoeger, ‘and these small changes involve thousands of genes.

We found that this change was consistent across different tissues and in different animals.

Scientists hope the study, published in the journal Nature Aging, will spur the development of treatments to slow or reverse aging.

Currently, the drugs target the symptoms rather than the causes of getting older, which Northwestern experts said is similar to using pain relievers to reduce a fever.

Dr Amaral said, “Fever can occur for many, many reasons. It can be due to an infection that requires antibiotics to heal, or it can be caused by appendicitis that requires surgery.

Here the same. The issue is an imbalance of genetic activity. If you can help rectify the imbalance, you can address the eventual consequences.

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