How many mutations before stem cells go kaput?

Imagine that today is your first day at a brand new job, and your new boss slaps an enormous booklet on your desk, then walks off without a word. The front of the booklet reads “HOW TO DO YOUR JOB”, and underneath in smaller print is the word accountant, and underneath that is the number…

Evolution: Pulling doubled lifespan out of a hat

Part III of III in a series on the evolution of aging. (Part I, Part II) Part IPart II If all you had to go on was our genomes, you’d surely conclude that humans and rodents were nearly the same animal, with roughly 92% overlap. And luckily for the species that does science, the other…

Evolution eats the old to feed the young

Part II of III in a series on the evolution of aging. (Part I, Part III) Sex and death have been friends for a long time. Many people would tell you that death–or rather, aging–wasn’t around until we started reproducing sexually, and if you examine the tree of life you’ll see a lot of evidence

The evolution of one of Earth’s longest-living mammals

Here’s an interesting experiment that I don’t recommend trying at home. Take a strain of mice, and choose what age you’d like them to live to. The average lifespan for mice in captivity is around two years, so let’s say you give them six months. Kill the first generation after six months, and do that…

How your ancestors’ lifestyle determines your lifespan

Here’s an interesting experiment that I don’t recommend trying at home. Take a strain of mice, and choose what age you’d like them to live to. The average lifespan for mice in captivity is around two years, so let’s say you give them six months. Kill the first generation after six months, and do that…

A bountiful harvest of research

Keeping one eye on your calories, and the other on that delicious-looking pumpkin pie? Don’t worry–your Thanksgiving sins probably won’t hurt your longevity as long as you’re fasting sometimes. You can thank your gut bacteria. What do insulin resistance and 17th century Prague have in common? The first rare variant that dramatically increases human lifespan…

Diagnosis: Cursed?

The year is 1996, and you’re a doctor with a strange case on your hands. Actually, it’s not just one case–it’s an entire family with a collection of rare disorders and unrelated bodily dysfunction. Must be something genetic, right? But it doesn’t look like any of the genetic diseases you’ve seen before, because it’s going…

Research roundup: The Hippo in your heart, and more

The Hippo pathway controls cellular regeneration, so why not modify it to heal the heart after the scarring caused by a heart attack? Six weeks later, mouse hearts were good as new. modify it Cytomegalovirus (a herpes virus) infects over 90% of humans, often silently, but this mostly harmless little viral companion takes up far…

In the media: Mouse mugshots, metabolic mayhem and metformin

Is a picture worth a thousand biomarkers? MouseAGE, the AI that wants to eyeball the age of rodents, thinks so. thinks so Dr. Craig Thomspon talks cancer metabolism, and fills us in on how certain nutrients may explain the connection between cancer and obesity. “The TAME Trial would cost 96% less than the cost to…

Longevity orthologs: How far from the apple to the tree?

Laboratories studying the biology of aging are a menagerie of creatures great and small. From unicellular yeast and nematodes, all the way up to primates and even the faithful old Canis familiaris, animal models have opened up the aging process to our inspection in ways that human subjects wouldn’t have been able to match. It’s…

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