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The Key to Long-life in Worms? SpaceFlight! | Uncomplicated Scientist

The Key to Long-life in Worms? SpaceFlight!

Written by  //  July 8, 2012  //  Health  //  No comments

downloaded from wikipedia/Donated by Zeynep F. Altun

Haven’t we always wanted to know how to make worms live longer?

I know I have.

It’s is the only thing that has been on my mind for years.

And it is really quite simple.

Just bring them into space.

Now, of course this is all in theory.  But once this is put into practice, we can all enjoy a universe rich with worms that are step closer to the dream of immortality.  Can, we ask for more?

Now I do jest, and perhaps I am being tad sarcastic.  Space flying immortal worms is a tad absurd.

I mean, in all honesty, who cares about the lifespan of these worms.  The cost to send them into space would be tremendous.  What’s the cost-benefit ratio?

Well, like most things in the science community, there is a method to this madness.  Yes, this discovery seems a bit silly, but what this data may be telling us, is far more important.

A big issue with space travel is that muscle and bone loss can occur in astronauts.  This also is a well researched area.  It was recently discovered however, that spaceflight actually reduced the accumulation of toxic proteins that normally occur in aging muscle. It was also found that the suppression of select genes, were also lower during spaceflight.  When scientists artificially supressed these genes in C. Elegans, a type of worm on earth, the worm actully lived longer.

So the take home message, is that spaceflight could potentially help worms live longer.  More than that, this research could also be key to finding ways to extend our lives in space and earth.  Additionally, by understanding these genes, they also may be used as biomarkers for the potential diagnosis of disease and longevity in the human race.

We may one day owe lowly worms our life.

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