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 Post subject: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #1 Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:32 am 
Oza
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I recall some old discussions about cryogenics, and whether people would want to extend their natural lifespan, so I thought some of you might be interested in this. One of the key points is that aging is shown to have a valuable function for the health not of the individual, but of the group, and that it makes sense that our genes kill us off after some time to preserve the health of the group. But we individuals don't seem to care all that much for the group, so what's stopping us from turning off that gene?

http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/r ... cle/466680

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #2 Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:52 am 
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Consider Betteridge's law.

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #3 Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:59 am 
Oza
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vier wrote:

Even if the answer is no, it doesn't mean that the approach to the question is not worth investigating. Did you read the review?

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #4 Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:17 pm 
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daal wrote:
vier wrote:

Even if the answer is no, it doesn't mean that the approach to the question is not worth investigating. Did you read the review?

* BBC: Has the LHC discovered a new particle?
Without reading the article you now know the answer. (No 750GeV diphoton bump.)
* About aging: Look at that old book, worn and torn, with loose leaves. Where precisely is its gene for aging? Can you turn it off?
* About "the gene for ...": What if one found the gene for making mistakes in go games. And switched it off. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #5 Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:49 am 
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It bugs me that this is promo for their upcoming book, not a published article.

If you're interested in this topic you might want to check out Aubrey de Grey who has worked on preventing aging for quite some time now. But I would take everything I read in this context with a big grain of salt.


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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #6 Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:47 am 
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Fool wrote:
It bugs me that this is promo for their upcoming book, not a published article.

If you're interested in this topic you might want to check out Aubrey de Grey who has worked on preventing aging for quite some time now. But I would take everything I read in this context with a big grain of salt.


You're right, it is promo. I shared it because I know the artist who made images for the promo video, and she knows the author, an astrophysicist, to be a person worth being taken seriously. The co- author by the way is the son of Carl Sagan. Is promotion bad?

I also shared it because the premise, that it is advantageous for the evolution of a group for individuals to weaken at a certain rate, is one that I find interesting and one that I hadn't thought about before. It seems plausible that if growing old and decrepit in a certain manner is advantageous then we might be genetically programmed to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #7 Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:39 am 
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daal wrote:
Is promotion bad?

Don't misunderstand me, promotion is not bad of course. However, you have to keep in mind that they want to sell their product and will choose a flashy headline. I highly doubt that with the knowledge in this book we will be much close to biological immortality, but I don't mind being proven wrong.

But if I had found the approach for the cure of aging I would send my article to the big journals and start reaping in all the sweet fame associated with a finding like that as soon as possible instead.

Also being the son of someone is scarcely a prove for scientific reliability. I'm not saying he doesn't know about the stuff he's writing, but I'd like to see his achievements instead of his father's name in order to judge. Being an accomplished astrophysicist on the other hand gives quite the trustworthiness... when talking about astrophysics.


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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #8 Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:37 am 
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daal wrote:
The co- author by the way is the son of Carl Sagan.


Frank Herbert's son is co-authoring some pretty execrable sequels to his work. Awesomeness does not necessarily get passed on to the children but a name sells a lot of books :(

I haven't read the article (like other people in the thread, I have an aversion to headlines that ask this kind of question; the answer is always "not really, no") but given the amount and kind of research into the subject already, if aging turned out to be the work of a single gene it would be... more than merely surprising.

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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #9 Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:36 am 
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daal wrote:
I also shared it because the premise, that it is advantageous for the evolution of a group for individuals to weaken at a certain rate, is one that I find interesting and one that I hadn't thought about before. It seems plausible that if growing old and decrepit in a certain manner is advantageous then we might be genetically programmed to do so.


Are you familiar with the Australian Aboriginal approach to aging? When an elder becomes a burden on the group he decides it is time to go. They all have a wake, which he attends, and then after saying his goodbyes he walks out into the outback, sits down peacefully, and shuts his systems down.

All least, that is the traditional methods of dealing with old age. I am not so sure they still do it that way. But the point is that when someone becomes a burden on the group then they decide it is time to depart.

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Post #10 Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:16 pm 
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Worker bees do that ( probably with no wake or goodbye ).


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 Post subject: Re: Have researchers discovered the gene for aging?
Post #11 Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:25 am 
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There's likely more than one gene involved! There are many factors contributing to ageing, each of which may be regulated by several genes and could effect other genes, including:

  • Telemore shortening
  • Senescence of the immune system
  • Dietary factors (particularly protein consumption, sugars contributing to advanced glycation end-products, and insulin signalling, though we still don't know much about how this all works in humans)
  • Lipofuscin (accumulation of residues from lysosomal digestion near the nucleus of post-mitotic cells)
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Stress/cortisol
  • Developmental experiences
  • Epigenetics and environmental influences

There's plenty of good, well-cited reading on the topic available at http://senescence.info/

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