Thursday, January 22, 2015

Understanding DNA Repair and Cancer Resistance Genes from Bowhead Whales May Enable 200 year Livespans in Humans

We really do need to understand just why long lived animals do so.  As this reminds us we even have mammals with superior longevity.  Thus it should be practical to establish possible causation that could lead to longer human lives.

It will still require near perfect food choices  to make work but that is something we are beginning to understand.  Evidence does suggest that our lifespans are already seriously extendible and serious effort is underway to see if it is a possible.

Genetic improvement would set the stage for lifespans of a thousand years or much longer.  I now think that this will be come possible. In the meantime keep up to date with hte improvements available..

Understanding DNA repair and cancer resistance genes from Bowhead whales to enable 200 year lives in humans

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have sequenced the genome of the bowhead whale, estimated to live for more than 200 years with low incidence of disease.

The bowhead whale is the longest living mammal on earth. The team wanted to understand why they live so long and don't succumb to some of the same illnesses as humans do earlier in life.

Sequencing of the bowhead whale showed changes in genetic information that related to cell division, DNA repair, disease and aging that with further analysis, could help inform future studies in longevity and cancer resistance.

In their findings published in the journal Cell Reports, the team found as many as 80 candidate genes that may help protect the whale from cancer or contribute to it being the longest living mammal on earth. The team found that the whales have genes related to DNA repair, as well as those regulating how cells proliferate, that differ from those found in humans.

"We know DNA damage and DNA mutation are important for cancer. So when we find genes related to DNA repair and DNA damage responses, we think maybe this could be involved in longevity and disease resistance of the bowhead," Magalheas said. "In that sense, you don't find a fountain of youth in the genome but you find some promising leads."

Longevity work on Bowhead Whales was funded by SENS related organizations


Two groups which funded most of the whale research -- the Life Extension Foundation and the Methuselah Foundation -- are seeking that magic potion. Life Extension focuses on such things as hormonal and nutritional supplements to fight aging while Methuselah is heavily invested in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine "to create a world where 90 year olds can be as health as 50 year olds, by 2030." 

The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) has not only been estimated to live over 200 years, making it the longest-lived mammal, but these animals remain disease-free until much more advanced ages than humans can.

Searching the genome

For searching a sequence you can use our BLAST server to align a given sequence to the latest available build of the bowhead whale genome.

The mechanisms for the longevity and resistance to aging-related diseases of bowhead whales are unknown, but it is clear these animals must possess aging prevention mechanisms. In particular in context of cancer, bowhead whales must have anti-tumour mechanisms, because given their large size and longevity, their cells must have a massively lower chance of developing into cancer when compared to human cells. As such, we sequenced the genome of the bowhead whale to identify longevity assurance mechanisms. 

A high-coverage genome assembly, and corresponding annotation, of the bowhead whale is made available to the scientific community to encourage research using data from this exceptionally long-lived species. Overall, this project aims to provide a key resource for studying the bowhead whale and its exceptional longevity and resistance to diseases. By identifying novel maintenance and repair mechanisms we will learn what is the secret for living longer, healthier lives and may be able apply this knowledge to improve human health and preserve human life.

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