The website io9 notes that scientists have figured out how to alter genes to extend life spans! Of, um, yeast, but what they learn could be applicable to humans.
Longo’s group put baker’s yeast on a calorie-restricted diet and knocked out two genes – RAS2 and SCH9 – that promote aging in yeast and cancer in humans.
“We got a 10-fold life span extension that is, I think, the longest one that has ever been achieved in any organism,” Longo says. Normal yeast organisms live about a week.
“I would say 10-fold is pretty significant,” says Anna McCormick, chief of the genetics and cell biology branch at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Longo’s program officer. The NIA funds such research in the hope of extending healthy life span in humans through the development of drugs that mimic the life-prolonging techniques used by Longo and others, McCormick adds.
Most interesting on the page are the comments which quickly point out the downsides of humans living a long time.
How would it affect the economy? Would money decrease in value if they had to make enough for so many people in effort to keep as little poverty as possible? How long would food last? Would we use it on cattle and pigs and chickens and other farm animals? What about fruits and vegetables? Where would everyone live? Would the entire planet turn into one huge city? Where would we grow our food? Would we just build up and up and up for housing developments? How many houses and cars would be made? With that many houses and cars being used, what would happen to our atmosphere?
It’s clear that if human lifespan extension is possible, only a select few should be granted this gift. Only people of exceptional intellect, taste, ability and good looks.
You know who I’m thinking of.