Scientists synthesize 'gene oscillators' to extend cell life and achieve efficient anti-aging

By: jack May. 12,2023
Chinese researchers at UCSD help discover way to potentially increase lifespan by 82%

The pioneering method, which was found to work in yeast cells, requires genetically rewiring a circuit to allow the cells to continuously oscillate between two deteriorative processes instead of succumbing to either.

The result is an increased cellular lifespan through a delay in the commitment to aging.

Molecular biology professor Nan Hao described the circuit responsible for aging as a “toggle switch” that triggers the cells' progression toward death.

“This is the first time computationally guided synthetic biology and engineering principles were used to rationally redesign gene circuits and reprogram the aging process to effectively promote longevity,” Hao said in a statement.

Hao believes the process can eventually be replicated to apply to humans.

In a commentary, Howard Salis, an associate professor of biological and chemical engineering at Penn State University, said human cells contain similar — albeit more complex — age-committing genetic circuitry, making the same method of rewiring a possibility.

The recent study, titled “Engineering longevity — design of a synthetic gene oscillator to slow cellular aging,” was published in the journal Science last week. 

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