Who doesn’t wish to live on this earth for ever? But death is inevitable. Human beings under the natural process of aging slowly move towards death. Of course, dreadful diseases like cancer often cause human beings to die young.
Scientists in advanced countries are now working vigorously on finding out the ways and means to extend human life expectancy, they are even aspiring to make humans immortal.
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Szostak were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering “immortality gene” – a gene that can help us live forever in good health with no fear of aging. But as ill luck would have it, the scientists to their utter surprise witnessed that the immortal gene in every cell of every human being is permanently switched off. Interestingly, the immortality gene produces a very important ‘life-extending enzyme’ which is capable of stopping, preventing and even reversing the aging process. And when the immortality gene stops functioning, we age, our organ weakens, our body system is attacked by various diseases and eventually the inevitable happens, we die!
Meanwhile, cell biologists later discovered a kind of chain of repeating pairs of enzyme called ‘telomeres’ on the tip of the DNA molecule. Telomeres help protect DNA’s cap during cell division and copying of the cell. Due to repeated division telomeres become ineffective. Different diseases also reduce the effectiveness of telomeres and gradually push us to death accelerating the process of aging.
Although no method or means has so far been invented to switch on the immortality gene but scientists are working on telomere biology for increasing the life expectancy of the humans from present average 76 to 150 years!
It may be mentioned here that all living beings including plants have immortality gene and if through application of biotechnology this gene could be manipulated, there would be a new evolution and revolution too.
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