North Texas

Researchers Study Yeast and Roundworms in Hopes of Revealing Secret to Longer Life

When someone lives to be 100 years old, you wonder what they ate, how much they slept or if it's just good luck.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico are hoping by studying yeast and roundworms they can find the secret to living longer.

"We really want to understand the basic biology of aging, and we start by asking about it in simple organisms in the lab, but we care because we want to understand it in humans," said UNM Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mark McCormick.

McCormick said yeast and roundworms live for a few weeks, so it’s easy to keep up with their lifespans.

"We looked at every single gene in the whole organism essentially. The ones they can live without, and we asked what happens to their lifespan. And we try to put together the patterns of which genes did and didn't affect lifespan, especially which genes might extend lifespan," he said.

The research team has been able to double the life of some roundworms by combining a specific gene pathway with a drug. McCormick said in a few years they will start testing on mice.

McCormick has been working on the project for two years and believes the findings will benefit humans.

"It's definitely going to happen. The question is will it affect you, or your kids or your grandkids?"

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