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For how long have we dreamed about staying young forever and while there isn’t a fountain of youth to help us out, studies are showing promise in restoring our capabilities in old age. No we won’t look turn back into what we looked like in our prime but it would help us keep functioning properly as we age. Research is being done on our chromosomes and how to restore them to their former condition. The easiest way to understand it is to compare our chromosomes with springs, as we age they aren’t as tight as they used to be. This loosening of chromosomes is caused by epigenetic marks changing and throwing off the patterns that keep our cells working right. To restore our functions all we would need to do is tighten the springs again, but how do we do that? Well scientists were experimenting with mice and turned on genes that “reprogrammed” their cells. By activating those cells, they seemed to reset and renew older cells too. Though the mice were able to renew specific tissues they needed like muscle tissue there is a side to this discovery that deserves to be explored as well.

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Unfortunately this regeneration also lead to cancerous tumors in some of the mice, the scientists believe that if they dose the mice with less doxycycline, (the mice had been modified so this antibiotic would turn adult cells into stem cells), might prevent the side effects. Some are hopeful that one day humans can be helped by this discovery and others are skeptical about modifying our genes, its still controversial and has a long way to go. Who knows, one day it might be a regular practice and widely accepted. Let’s see what happens next.

 

Sources:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/researchers-rejuvenate-aging-mice-stem-cell-genes

http://www.livescience.com/57224-aging-reversible-mice.html

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