Scientists at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences may be on their way to decode immortality for all of mankind. The research is available on the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences which shows the drug mifepristone can help extend the lives of two very different species used in laboratory studies, suggesting the findings may apply to other species, including human beings. This may even help us live forever.
The research in its ver base focusses on one of the most common laboratory models used in genetic research, the fruit flies Drosophila. John Tower, a professor of biological sciences, and his team found out that the drug mifepristone extends the lives of female flies that have mated. The drug is normally used by clinicians to end early pregnancies as well as treat cancer.
Mifepristone: The secret to immortality
In scientific research, Tower and collaborators Chia-An Yen, who obtained her Ph.D. last spring from USC Dornsife College, and Sean Curran, associate professor of gerontology and biological sciences at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and USC Dornsife College, also gave mifepristone to another common laboratory model, a small roundworm called C. elegans. They found the drug had the same life-extending effect on the mated worm.
Because Drosophila fruit flies and C. elegans worms sit on relatively distant branches of the evolutionary tree, Tower believes the similar results in such different species suggest other organisms, including humans, might see comparable benefits to lifespan as well as maybe immortality.
In terms of evolution, Drosophila and C. elegans are equally as distant from each other as either one is distant from humans. And the fact that mifepristone can increase lifespan in both species suggests the mechanism is important to many species.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.