Biotech Updates

Synthetic Genetic Manipulation Almost Doubles Lifespan of Cells

May 17, 2023

Scientists from the University of San Diego published the results of their proof-of-concept study that demonstrated how a cell can last longer by genetically rewiring its circuits that control aging. The findings can be useful in medical research, as the study's aim is to extend the life of cells within organisms to prevent degenerative diseases.

Using computer simulations, the researchers studied how cells follow a sequence of molecular changes from their existence until they degenerate and die. They found that cells followed one of two aging routes: some cells underwent a gradual decline in DNA stability, while others went through a decline in their mitochondria. They used these observations to develop a synthetic gene oscillator to target two specific transcriptional regulators in yeast that are involved in cell aging – Sir2 that drives nuclear decline of DNA, and Hap4 that is associated with mitochondrial activity. By generating sustained oscillators between the two types of cellular degeneration, the cells began to continually switch between the two aging pathways which slowed down their degeneration. The researchers were able to prevent the cells from following either one of the two aging routes and increased the cells' lifespan by 82%.

The findings provide proof that increasing longevity is probable not only in single-celled organisms but possibly in more complex organisms such as animals and humans.

More details are available in Science and Medical News Today.

You might also like: