Could Age-Defying Worms Make Us Immortal?
Scientists have found an flatworm species that can overcome the aging process, potentially becoming immortal by rejuvenating their telomeres. What can humans learn from the process?
What's the Latest Development?
Scientist have discovered a species of flatworm that can overcome the aging process, potentially making it immortal, by rejuvenating the genetic material believed to be at the root of aging. English researchers have found that when the planarian worm reproduces asexually, both the parent and offspring, "regenerate indefinitely by growing new muscles, skin, guts and even entire brains over and over again." Whereas cells typically show signs of aging as an organism grows, the planarian's cells are somehow able to continue dividing.
What's the Big Idea?
The genetic root of the aging process is a 'cap' on stem cell genes called telomeres. During healing, reproductive and growing processes, stem cells divide and the telomere cap gradually shrinks until the cells can no longer reproduce. "Previous work, leading to the award of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, had shown that telomeres could be maintained by the activity of an enzyme called telomerase." The study found that planarian worms do indeed increase the length of their telomeres as they grow and divide.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.
- A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
- Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
- The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Even when they suffer costs in doing so.
- It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
- In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
- The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.