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Gene that regulates life span, prevents disease found

Editor’s note: In a departure from the usual content of this blog, here is a piece about gene research.

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LONDON (Reuters) – Experiments which mimicked a low-calorie diet by tinkering with genes in mice extended their lives and prevented disease, and a drug that has the same effect could give people longer, healthier lives, scientists said on Thursday.

British researchers found that deleting a gene linked to nutrients and growth helped mice to live 20 percent longer on average, and partly explained why eating less appears to improve health and increase longevity.

The findings also offered a possible genetic drug target for protecting against aging-related diseases, they said.

“What we have shown is that this gene is one that regulates life span and also determines how healthy animals are in middle and late age,” said Dominic Withers of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at University College London.

Withers and his colleagues used so-called knockout mice — mice bred with a certain gene removed or knocked out — in this case the ribosomal S6 protein kinase 1 (S6K1) gene.

More of Gene that regulates life span, prevents disease found at Reuters site.

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October 2, 2009 - Posted by | healthcare, Research | ,

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