Living ten years longer: Gene mutation in Amish gives hope for a longer life
In a study , scientists discovered that many members of the Amish community in the US live longer and healthier lives. The reason is a life-prolonging gene mutation. The scientists hope to have found a fountain of youth.
According to the researchers, carriers of the mutated gene copy live ten years longer and unfortunately less often in diabetes or cardiovascular disease .
Study author Douglas Vaughan and his colleagues at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in the US and Tohoku University in Japan now want to develop a drug that will mimic the effect of gene modification. “It’s a desirable form of longevity,” said the scientist.
Less illness, longer life
The researchers studied 177 members of the Amish community in Berne, Indiana. They found that 43 Amish carried a mutated copy of the Serpine1 gene. The Amish with the mutated gene were on average 85 years old – Amish without the gene copy on the other hand an average of 75 years old. In addition, the carriers of the mutant gene less frequently had diabetes and less often cardiovascular disease.
Scientists believe that the mutated Serpine1 gene leads to a sharp decline in the production of the protein PAI-1.Earlier, scientists had found in animal experiments that PAI-1 has an influence on the aging process.
First tests in Japan
With a drug, the scientists want to suppress the effect of the protein PAI-1. First tests were already in Japan. Mice treated with the drug lived four times as long as a test group and had none of the typical geriatric diseases.According to Vaughan, the Japanese authorities have now approved a second test phase. Northwestern University is also seeking a test approval in the United States.
The Amish live very withdrawn and reject most aspects of modern life. Their geographic and genetic isolation make them an ideal study object for scientists.
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