Novel research from San Francisco hints at roundworms as holding the coveted secret to anti-ageing.
Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon and her team at the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging, have managed to prolong the life of roundworms six-fold by manipulating a gene they share with humans.
The tiny roundworm has an exceptionally short lifespan, elderly at 10 days and dead within two weeks.ut Kenyon's team have slowed the species' ageing process and bred roundworms to the age of 84 days - which in human terms would make them 480 years old.
"You have something you never thought was possible. These worms should be dead, a long time ago. But they're not dead. They're moving. They're young," the Daily Mail quoted Kenyon as telling ABC News.
They did it by manipulating one particular gene in its DNA, known as daf-2.
The same gene is present in humans and people who live to 100 tend to exhibit mutations to the gene, said Kenyon at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in Edinburgh.
Mutations to the daf-2 gene would help to explain why different animals have such significantly differing lifespans.
As a result of the research, Kenyon claimed that youth-boosting drugs could be available within 15 years.