Looking for the fountain of youth? Scientists may have found it.

Scientists led by Johan Auwerx from the EPFL, in collaboration with the Netherlands and the US, have found that the mitochondria play an important role in the aging process and that it can be influenced using antibiotics. Mitochondria are responsible for transforming nutrients into proteins, which are used by muscles as energy. The research has identified the exact genes involved in the process and the consequences of varying the amount of protein they encode for. The less protein, the longer the life span.

The study has been carried out on mice and worms, showing that three genes situated on chromosome number two can be manipulated to extend life. A 50% reduction in the expression of these genes led to a 60% increase in life span for both the mice and the worms.

Still a long way to go before it can be tested on humans, but nonetheless, a breakthrough that can revolutionize the world.

For more information, please refer to: Houtkooper, R, Mouchiroud, L, Ryu, D, Moullan, N, Katsyuba, E, Knott, G, Williams, R, & Auwerx, J (2013), ‘Mitonuclear protein imbalance as a conserved longevity mechanism’, Nature, 497, 7450, p. 451

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