Biology article reflection

The article, "The Biologist Who Extends Life Spans", is an interview with biologist Cynthia Kenyon on the subject of extending life spans. She has extended the life span of nematodes, as they had lived for more than 125 days, about six times more than the usual life span of the worms, which is around 20 days. Surprisingly, the worms stayed robust almost until they died.

She controls aging in worms by manipulating the gene daf-2, which encodes a hormone receptor. Changing daf-2 produces large increases in life span as daf-2 protein controls the activities of many other genes, each of which contributes in its own way to longevity. For instance, some genes function as antioxidants and stop the damage done to cells by free radicals. Some genes make proteins called chaperones which help damaged proteins refold correctly. Also, other genes have an antimicrobial function by preventing the worm from getting infections.

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Kenyon even thinks there is a possibility of extending the life span of humans by using these regulator genes. She commented that the difference between the life spans of different species might boil down to the activity of master regulator genes, like the daf-2 receptor. The hormone receptor is another important gene, a master transcription factor called daf-16 that binds the many downstream genes and turns them on and off.

This article relates to Biology as it discusses the topic about life span through the manipulation of genes. Once the research is successful, it will also be possible for humans to attain long life or even immortality. One would really be set into thinking if the whole idea of extending is ethical. On the medical side, extending life span is'a whole new approach to disease, to health care'. This is so as age is a risk factor for an enormous number of diseases, and if one can control aging, they can have beneficial effects on a whole wide range of diseases.

On the other h…

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