Re: longevity

Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (joao.magalhaes@fundp.ac.be)
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 10:03:52 +0100 (MET)

Hi!

>He can
>not find any down side to the mice at all but he speculates there must be
>one someplace because otherwise evolution would already have found
>this fix;

This is debatable. As you all know, we are far from perfect organisms. Mice also have lots of room for improvement and we can't expect evolution to select them all. It can be argued in many ways the fact that p66 is no longer important (being an ancient gene that is no longer important, having another version that is more stable, etc.). Of course it can have some important function we can't easily detect, but the point is that I don't think we should assume evolution as a perfect and final process. The distribution in humans of the various types of cholesterol is an excellent example (if you're not aware, the most hazardous type of cholesterol is the most abundant and vice-versa).

>Just a year or two ago I thought it was a big deal when they found a
>genetic way
>to increase the life of a worm even though it made the creature sluggish,
>this was done with a mammal and if there are bad side effects they must
>be very subtle. On first reading I'm damn impressed.

Definitely. I've read the article and it seems quite interesting. We've found genes like this in worms and insects, now mice, humans are next. I'm certainly in the mood for living through the entire third millenium.

Hasta.

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