Los Angeles: A breakthrough by US scientists has brought the prospect of an anti-agieng pill closer.
The team, led by Dr Valter Longo, a biomedical gerontologist at the University of Southern California, have successfully prolonged the life of yeast cells by up to six times its usual lifespan.
Dr Longo said the next step would be to exploit this understanding to create a drug that could reverse human ageing.
The research, in which scientists removed two key genes – SCH9 and Sir2, forced the single celled organisms into “survival mode.” SCH9 governs the abiity of the cell to convert nutrients into energy, while Sir2 restricts the lifespan by converting energy into growth and reproduction. The removal of the genes tricked the cells into believing they had no food and so they concentrated on survival and lived for six weeks instead of one.
The experiment also confirms earlier research in which flies, worms and mice, who were put on a calorie restricted diet lived longer.