The human cell can under optimum conditions (no stress), live to about 160 yrs.
Will that life span, eventually, be extended?
Will genetic engineering create the potential for human immortality?
Your reasons negative or positive.
As mentioned. currently even under optimal conditions we seem to have a bit of a built in expiry date with the shortening of the chromosomes as they divide.
If they come up with something to deal with that 200 years would come within reach IMHO. It may be something nutritional or pharmaceutical as it is a property all cells have, so nothing to select for to fix it.
Each mitosis of a cell, shortens the telomeres on the "DNA."
Presently, a cell can only divide up to about 60 times.
when the telomerese reach a certain level they will not allow cell mitosis.
That would mean to me that there are genes that control that process that can eventually be discovered and the genetic arrangement within the chromosome can be be re-engineered to end that process.
I don't think that diet, or pharmaceutics will do it. They may be a facet of that which will be necessary to accomplish the feet of extending life, but I think we'll find the results with genetic study, research and trials.
Great question. I'm a surgical scrub by trade, and I see a lot of people who are stricken down by autoimmune diseases, such as; Rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes, MS, Osteoporosis, etc..., we must first get a handle on the treatment of these conditions. I mean, who wants to live for 160 yrs in agonizing pain? I've seen patients pray for death. So until we can find a way to at least control these diseases, eliminate stress, find cures- I don't think somebody, not even a man-made human being, could last 160 years being miserable. I guess if we could also somehow generate a human without certain neurons, or design a human with programmable neurons, but, truthfully not even then do I think it will ever be possible. Our bodies have over a million different neurons. A million. The size of that computer chip would be gigantic.
Pollution, is another stress factor that affects our bodies in harmful ways. So we'd have to literally eliminate pollution. Well I don't EVER see that happening. Not in my lifetime at least. Your a swimmer, do you see us eliminating all pollution?
I see the possibility of creating a new human species which would be better equipped to handle its future.
We are the "prototype" human. There is no doubt that if we survive, the human mind, the finest computer nature could produce, will be imagined, planned, and built!
But lets get thru this century...intact!
I believe it will eventually be possible. There is a species of jellyfish that is said to be immortal; perhaps proper study of that can allow us to do the same thing they do. There is also the Hayflick limit that we must overcome as well.
Yes, at the moment, telomere length does limit then number of times a cell can split and reproduce.
Because of the advent of faster computers able to compute billions of times faster than the human brain and a future of even faster computers, do ya think genetic engineering will cure the telomere problem?
I think it will.
We already live longer, anything possible for a creative mind.
IMHO I doubt there are genes that "control" the fact that pieces break off chromosomes as they do their thing. It is kind of wear and tear like pieces coming of a car tire the more you drive on it.
There is some very early evidence that you can make the chromosomes tougher through the presence of certain chemicals, metaphorically like chromosome replication lubricant.
It strikes me as being a fundamentally mechanical issue. To have a genetic solution there would need to be a error we can fix (but this is normal wildtype state, not an error) or variation we can do a quantitative trait analysis on and find gene for it not happening (but while some people experienced accelerated shortening, no one seems to do better than the normal number of divisions).
Telomeres are like little "teets" on the DNA which are within the chromosome within the cell nucleus.
An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. each time it does, the little "teets" (telomeres shorten. When the "teets: are reduced to a certain length, mitosis stops and shortly death occurs.
The only way to change the DNA is by doing it by re-engineering the genetic programming.
I'm sure you know that the "chromosomes" you mention are within a cell and contain the double helix within which the DNA exists.
Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.
During each dupication, DNA passes on with it a shortened "telomere" so it is not an exact replica of its former self.
The only way to stop "telomere" shortening would be to figure out which gene/s control that process and try to re-engineer its/their control.
I get that. But I am not sure that any gene(s) "control" the telomere shortening. They control the duplication, but the telomere shortening may be a necessary corollary of that action.
Sort of like, you can't have friction without heat. You can't unzip and replicate chromosome without the fragile bits falling off....
I don't refute that.
All you and I can do at this moment is guess.
The human genome program is blossoming.
We may be on our way to understanding life like we have not yet.
I feel that if we can survive the next 100 yrs, we will have created a new species of human being.
But for now, we the lay people can only wait and see.
Oddly enough there is already a dog food in development that claims to slow telomere shortening. The reason they went for a pet food first is that there are fewer hoops to jump through to get it to market.
Yep! I believe the 200 year mark will be possible soon.
An Australian husband and wife scientific team have completed a 9 year study that has resulted in opening the door to the process.
They are unravelling what they have found, describing their find as "Like opening the door to a room and switching the light on in there" and I am willing to bet the computer they are using is handing over data related to their findings at an astonishing rate.
I have not been able to source this as yet, but it will be googleable.
If ya come across the info, forward the source to us will ya?
What's the their names? I'd like to Google them for information. I like to stay up to date with that kind of stuff, and I find it incredibly interesting.
I mean, can you even begin to imagine living another 60ty to 70ty years longer than we already do Earnest? Imagine the possibilities. How would the extension of human life effect the planet? Our planet rejuvenates itself from time to time. Well more people, with extended lifespans? The impact would have to be severe. And take time itself. What impact would that extra time have on peoples biological time clocks? Our brain speeds time up as it ages. What use to seem like forever to us, now feels like yesterday. This would surely be effected some way, probably negatively.
I wish I could find it again. It was broadcast on ABC and BBC radio science shows. Some other hubbers may know where to find it.
There are also a few new ideas on population growth that are interesting also, but I doubt they would play well here.
Scientifically, most likely, and in the near future. First by a short amounts, 50 or so years through medications, and then by 100 or more years through science and bio-tech, etc, and it'll probrably on by then.
It is a shame... we are dangerous enough now in our short exisistences. Never mind us living for hundrends of years each.
Can we learn to "read" a memory?
Can we learn to impose artificial memories on brain cells?
Can we learn to read a memory and impose it in total onto the brain of a clone with no experiences?
I am sure a time will come when humanity can will be able to live longer lives, the human lifespan has afterall already been extended.
The big question is what effect extended life will have on humanity as a whole, would it be a good idea to implement this before we have the ability to colonize new planets?
I agree with you Oli. Certainly here in the UK and Europe the ageing population is already a cause for concern when it comes to funding and care.
If we were to live until we were 200, we would have to be economically active for most of that time, so would have to be able to stay in reasonably good shape.
There is also the issue of the generations coming up behind us, as I can see that this longevity would only add to the over-population problems getting worse, leading to more discontent and militancy in the young.
I think the results of this will be very detrimental.
Personally, I doubt the human lifespan can be extended to 200 years. Every few years, the news reports something impressive, but rarely does anything come of it. In the '50s, it was reported that man would be living on Mars within 20 years, and that everyone would have robots to do the housework. I also remember in the '80s there was a report that a cure for AIDS had been discovered. What happened to that? I also remember a few years ago, scientists had discovered a way of turning grey hair back to its original colour, and the news reported that hair dye would become a thing of the past within a couple of years. It makes for good news, but this is often distorted. I wonder what the scientists involved actually think. They are usually very conservative and rarely make the bold statements found in the news headlines. Has the news once again been exaggerated to sell papers?
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