Searching for a ‘fountain of youth’ in our genes

your fountain of youth

Explorers have dreamt for centuries of a Fountain of Youth, with healing waters that rejuvenate the old and extend life indefinitely.

Researchers at the University of Rochester, however, have uncovered more evidence that the key to longevity resides instead in a gene.

In a new paper published in the journal Cell, the researchers–including Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov, professors of biology; Dirk Bohmann, professor of biomedical genetics; and their team of students and postdoctoral researchers–found that the gene sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) is responsible for more efficient DNA repair in species with longer lifespans. The research illuminates new targets for anti-aging interventions and could help prevent age-related diseases.

Related article:  How do genetics and luck mix to determine life's winners and losers?

[T]he researchers analyzed DNA repair in 18 rodent species with lifespans ranging from 3 years (mice) to 32 years (naked mole rats and beavers). They found that the rodents with longer lifespans also experience more efficient DNA repair because the products of their SIRT6 genes–the SIRT6 proteins–are more potent.

“The SIRT6 protein seems to be the dominant determinant of lifespan,” Bohmann says. “We show that at the cell level, the DNA repair works better, and at the organism level, there is an extended lifespan.”

Read full, original post: Forget the “Fountain of Youth”, Longevity Lies in a Gene

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