By genetically manipulating insulin/insulin-like signaling pathways in molecules inside nematode cells, researchers have built upon previous findings linking two specific pathways — the insulin signaling pathway and the target of rapamycin pathway — to the aging process. Scientists then determined that changing the insulin pathway doubled a worm’s longevity, while altering the rapamycin pathway only increased it 30 percent.
However, in what came as an obvious surprise to the team, when both C. elegans pathways were altered, this boosted their lifespans up to a whopping 500 percent instead of 130 percent.
“The synergistic extension is really wild,” MDI Biological Laboratory’s lead study author Jarod Rollins said in a press release. “The effect isn’t one plus one equals two, it’s one plus one equals five. Our findings demonstrate that nothing in nature exists in a vacuum; in order to develop the most effective anti-aging treatments we have to look at longevity networks rather than individual pathways.”
“Despite the discovery in C. elegans of cellular pathways that govern aging, it hasn’t been clear how these pathways interact,” MDI Biological Laboratory President Hermann Haller added. “By helping to characterize these interactions, our scientists are paving the way for much-needed therapies to increase healthy lifespan for a rapidly aging population.”
Are you prepared to live nearly half a millennium, or satisfied with a solid 80 years or so on our spinning Big Blue Marble?