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Longevity

Hang in There: The 25-Year Wait for Immortality

14 years, 3 months ago

1635  0
Posted on Apr 18, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Time may indeed be on your side. If you can just last another quarter century. By then, people will start lives that could last 1,000 years or more. Our human genomes will be modified to include the genetic material of microorganisms that live in the soil, enabling us to break down the junk proteins that our cells amass over time and which they can
Time may indeed be on your side. If you can just last another quarter century.

By then, people will start lives that could last 1,000 years or more. Our human genomes will be modified to include the genetic material of microorganisms that live in the soil, enabling us to break down the junk proteins that our cells amass over time and which they can’t digest on their own. People will have the option of looking and feeling the way they did at 20 for the rest of their lives, or opt for an older look if they get bored. Of course, everyone will be required to go in for age rejuvenation therapy once every decade or so, but that will be a small price to pay for near-immortality.

This may sound like science fiction, but Aubrey de Grey thinks this could be our reality in as little as 25 years. Other scientists caution that it is far from clear whether and for how long science can stall the inevitable.

De Grey, a Cambridge University researcher, heads the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) project, in which he has defined seven causes of aging, all of which he thinks can be dealt with. (Senescence is scientific jargon for aging.)

De Grey also runs the Methuselah Mouse prize for breakthroughs in extended aging in mice. The purse of the M Prize, as it is called, recently grew beyond $1 million.

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