Living Beyond 202
To live to live to live. Life is such a beautiful thing, yet from the moment we are born it is but a drifting dream. What can we do to prolong life, to be youthful for longer and not not age? It must be of significance to the 7 billion people alive today. After all most will die of old age.
There is a light though. At 4450 East Avenue, Livermore, California, is a light bulb that has been on for a 113 years and only turned off a handful of times. From this old firehouse an eagle could fly in an hour to where Dr. Cynthia Kenyon sits by a great magnifying glass.
In San Francisco, where they once wore flowers in their hair, she carefully studies these worms of old age. Worms just the size of a comma on this page, her C. Elegans lie on a glass plate. And she watched the lives of these worms decay.
From what she saw in her great glass and from what her great mind could phantom. She found that there was one gene, one gene out of 20,000 in their DNA, known as the Daf-2, that lurks in the slimy confines of the cells of these little worms. This devious Daf-2 contains the very blueprints for a hormone receptor that will accelerate the decay of flesh and bones till the coil of life snaps. From that darkness there is no return.
Insulin and IGF-1 are the cunning hormones she examined. With great guile these hormones have deceived us. On one had this IGF-1 makes us grow and insulin of course helps absorb nutrients; but they both play a far darker role. They make us grow old.
Her worms live a little more then one cycle of the moon. They die in 30 days. So she weakened the devious Daf-2, and something remarkable happened, her worms lived 30 days more. With her power she found, she could double the life of these little worms. They were younger for much longer. And the same was found in flies and mice, all could live longer with this great power.
For when Daf-2 was scolded for being such a critter. On came FOXO a lazy gene that normally slumbers. FOXO you see, has the power to call his other gene-mates to protect you. But when Daf-2 is about then there is not much FOXO can do.
So she wondered, could this be true in people like you and me too?
Already she knew people living till 100 do have mutants of that rascal Daf-2 and variants of sweet FOXO3A too. She wondered, could make a potion for me and you?
Some where in haze of long University corridors, behind a simple door is Dr. Cynthia Kenyon working, trying to stop us from ageing.
To live to live to live. To have more time, wouldn’t that be something, something beautiful to find and believe in.