Israeli Scientists Discover ´Life Gene´ (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Chana Ya´ar 02/23/12)
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Israeli researchers have discovered a gene that increases the
lifespan in mice, and may do the same in humans.
The researchers, led by Dr. Haim Cohen of the Mina and Everard
Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, teamed up for the study with
scientists from Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem´s Hebrew
University and the Carnegie Mellon University.
The discovery of the gene, which increases survival in mammals, also
increases the likelihood that similar activity can be found in a
human gene. The findings of the study were published this week in the
prestigious journal, Nature.
A number of genes affecting the lifespan of laboratory animals have
recently been discovered. Among them is a group known as Sirtuins,
which are found in every species. Within a set of seven genes in this
group is one called SIR2, one of the most highly researched and one
that prolongs life in yeast, worms and flies. Research of this gene
in mammals yielded a set of seven genes, one of which was examined by
Cohen´s team – SIRT6 – in mice.
"Originally in mice without the gene, researchers saw premature
aging,” Cohen said. “They suffered spinal curvature, calcium
deficiency and osteoporosis, immune system problems, and diabetes –
conditions which are familiar to us in aging humans. "We called the
second group, which we created in the laboratory, the ´MOSES´ mice
and compared their lifespan to that of wild-type mice, which possess
a normal amount of SIRT6.”
Two groups of wild-type and MOSES mice were fed a high-fat diet of 60
percent more fat calories than average, Cohen said. The wild mice
developed diseases associated with aging, but the MOSES mice remained
Moreover, the scientists discovered a rise in life expectancy among
males, based on calorie restriction, which Cohen said involved the
SIRT6 gene. “Females from the very beginning have a longer life
expectancy than males because the basic mechanism is already active,
so the engineered males just catch up to females,” he said.
"We were the first to show that these sirtuin genes regulate life
span in mammals,” Cohen declared. “The research was conducted in
laboratory animals under very sterile conditions. Is this what
happens in nature? It´s not clear. The human SIRT6 gene is very
similar to that in mice.
“It could be that drugs designed to activate the gene will have a
positive impact on our ability to treat age-related diseases whose
frequency increases in the elderly and in the physiological damage
caused by obesity,” he said. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 02/23/12)
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