Researchers extend life span of yeast through genes, diet

January 19, 2008|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Researchers at the University of Southern California have extended the life span of bakers' yeast tenfold through a combination of genetic manipulation and caloric restriction, marking the greatest increase in prolonging life ever achieved in the laboratory.

Their report was published this week in the Journal of Cell Biology and PLoS Genetics.

The team is now studying a human population with similar genetic mutations to determine whether they have a lower incidence of disease and whether they, too, live longer than normal.

Gerontologist Valter Longo and his team produced yeast that lived 10 weeks instead of the normal one by knocking out two genes restricting the amount of nutrients the yeast received.

The genes promote aging in yeast. Comparable genes in humans promote cancer.

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