By: Lissa Jean
Be thankful there are people in this world who enjoy staring at old worms, because if there weren’t, researchers might never have made this breakthrough in geezer studies.
A team of Stanford scientists have identified several genes which, when tampered with, make worms age faster. Up until now, conventional wisdom held that aging was caused by wear and tear –ingest too many free radicals, stand in front of too many microwaves, and eventually your cells will disintegrate. BUT, as the worms have shown, it’s really more a case of your genetic sequencing getting messed up. Certain DNA transcriptors get lazy (I’m looking at you elt-3!) and as their little mistakes accumulate, you begin to feel worse. Pretty soon, your kidneys don’t work, you’ve got glaucoma, and you pass the time knitting tea dollies and rambling about your glory days as the queen of the Charleston Two-Step. More after the jump.It’s unclear whether these worm gene patterns actually exist in humans, but the general academic consensus seems to be “probably.” So just think! If researchers can harness these renegade genes, we might be able to live for hundreds of years! 400 years from now, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton might still trot this Earth in their vomit-stained Manolos, and the plot of Brad Pitt’s new movie will be part of a healthy lifestyle.