A team of scientists from the University of California San Diego made a breakthrough discovery that could allow them to slow the aging process and add decades to our lives.
In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers were able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells by 82%. They found that the cells would switch between two different types of aging processes as they deteriorated over time. By creating a negative feedback loop using a device called a gene oscillator, the researchers were able to force the cells to periodically switch between the two processes instead of getting stuck in one cycle for a prolonged period of time.
As a result, the yeast cells aged at a much slower rate than average.
"Our work represents a proof-of-concept example, demonstrating the successful application of synthetic biology to reprogram the cellular aging process," the authors wrote, according to Phys.org, "and may lay the foundation for designing synthetic gene circuits to effectively promote longevity in more complex organisms."
The team is now planning to use human stem cells and neurons as they continue their research.