Scientists Create a Methuselah Fly

January 19, 2015

Humanity has long dreamt of immortality. It’s an idea that has launched poets to create works, artists to paint images of a perfected humanity, and even gave us our very first epic in the days of ancient Mesopotamia. What people seldom imagine though, is that immortality might come in the form of a fly. But flies are often one of the best research tools for testing medical advances. In particular, any study involving age will often find a good match with flies. The short life span of flies makes them a good match for anything involving life extension. A generation of flies can come and go in the blink of an eye.

However, that blink has become a bit longer in duration. Scientists have inserted an extra gene into flies to create what’s been nicknamed a Methuselah fly. The gene is a third copy of a gene which is normally represented as a pair within the fly’s cells. Normally gene is used for the regulation and control of healthy cells. This demonstrated which cells were damaged or not fully functioning. And in turn these damaged cells could be destroyed to allow for the generation of healthier cells. The end effect was a fly which could live 50% to 60% longer than a normal representative of it’s species.

Fersen Lambranho finds that the most exciting aspect of this research is the fact that it might be usable in humans. On a technical level, there seems to be no reason why humans wouldn’t receive the same benefits as a fly. More research is needed before any human trials could begin. However, it holds interesting prospects for future medical developments.

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