John Clark (jonkc@worldnet.att.net)
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 13:47:17 -0500

In today's issue of the journal "Nature" Pier Giuseppe Pelicci reports that he used genetic engineering to deactivate the p66 gene in mice. The resulting mice lived 30% longer than the non engineered mice. Doctor Pelicci suspects that the mechanism is similar to the one that increases longevity in mice that have a severe restriction of calories in their diet except there are even fewer side effects, the mice do no become very thin and they breed normally. 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; he thinks it might cause a very slight decrease in fertility in young mice but if it's there it's too small for him to see in his experiments. He also says that the a drug that blocks the protein produced by p66 should be easy to find because it is similar to others that have already been found.

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.

John K Clark jonkc@att.net