Is Immortality Possible?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Hypercane, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Hypercane Sustained Winds at Mach One Registered Senior Member

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    I remembered some two years ago that someone had a theory on how to become immortal. It had to do with removing this gene that acts like a timer; when the timer hits its time the gene orders the halt of blood cell creation and the stopping of the heart. The gene is also the reason for age, as time passes by, the gene, you could say, "gets slow" and makes you grow old. So if you remove that gene at the proper time you could be immortal.

    Is this true? My expertise is in earth science not biology or genetics.
     
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  3. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    The theory that ageing is controlled by genetics is much more unpopular now I believe. Can anyone come up with a good reason for why we would evolve genes which kill us after a certain length of time?

    There are genes which certainly slow down ageing through other means such as reducing free radical numbers, increasing antioxidants and making us less hungry (calorie restriction) but there is no ultimate gene which decides when we're going to die IMO
     
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  5. Gagarin Registered Member

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    You cannot avoid free radicals, we breath oxygen and from O2 reactive oxygen species (oxygen per se is biradical!) are constantly evolving and your genom can't stop this.
     
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  7. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    You cannot avoid free radical production but thats not what I said now was it?

    I said some of us can REDUCE radical numbers AFTER production better than others depending (indirectly) on their genome. If u aren't blessed with such a genome then u can do it DIRECTLY using antioxidants.
     
  8. reap Registered Member

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  9. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    I remember that the reason cells do not divide indefinitely is because of something at the end of a chromosome called telomeres. Yeah, once they stop dividing, free radicals start to do some damage.

    In response to the original question, I do believe that immortality is possible. I believe the clue lies in our worst nemesis, cancer. Cancer cells, although weak, have an uncanny ability to manipulate their telomeres and multiply indefinitely. This is why tumors can keep growing, spreading, metastasizing unless you make each and every single cancer cell die.
     
  10. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently, even the telomere theory has gone out the window. Studies have been done with mice where their telomeres have been shortened but there was no change in longevity.
     
  11. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    At some point your brain would run out of storage space and it would have to copy over memories or quit working. The only remedies are to keep the brain growing as you age or to have yourself hooked into a different storage medium. That is the real challenge, in my opinion.
     
  12. Closet Philosopher Off to Laurentian University Registered Senior Member

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    I heard that we can halt the gene for aging, but cells can only multiply so many times. Does altering this gene cause cells to multiply at an infinite rate? If so, then it is theoretically posible to live forever. The genetic problem would be to alter it in such a way that the cells mature until a certain amount of multiplications. Then the cells stop changing.
     
  13. Brandon9000 Registered Senior Member

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    There are several sources of degradation and error which are responsible for aging. One of the heavy hitters in this process is undesirable chemical reactions in the body caused by free radicals. Our body produces naturally, and we can also augment by consumption, antioxidants which sacrifice themselves in chemical reactions which quench free radicals. This process will slow down, but not stop free radical damage. A long study at Tufts University has shown that among fruits and vegetables, those with the most effective set of antioxidants are prunes, raisins, and blueberries. To find out more about this do a keyword search on the Web using the two keywords "Tufts" and "ORAC."

    Another major contributor to the degradation which results in aging is the mechanism of cross-linking - the formation of protein-sugar bonds between tissue fibers. Unbelievably, a company called Alteon has produced a drug known as ALT-711 which, when taken for a couple of months, undoes a lifetime's worth of this accumulated damage throughout the body. It is currently in phase 2 human testing, and could be a powerful anti-aging aid. To avoid controversy and opposition, Alteon is only seeking FDA approval for its use in certain heart conditions, but once it is approved for that, there will be nothing to stop doctors from writing off label prescriptions for anti-aging use.

    Barring moving a person into an entirely new body, it appears that aging can be significantly slowed down, but not stopped. Perhaps nanotechnology will someday provide other powerful anti-aging remedies.
     
  14. rudeboyjohn Registered Member

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    the centriole is the "suicide sac" in a mammal's cell, correct? Just wondering. I think that is the "timer" Hypercane was originally referring to.
     
  15. Roman Banned Banned

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    Even if we were able to disable the genetic factors leading to aging, we'd be smited by environmental factors. A gradual accumulation of heavy metals and radiation would eventually kill us. Think about how nutty you'd get after 500 years of life. Sure the flesh thrives, but non-multiplying brain cells would get hit hard by all that wear and tear.
     
  16. Kumar Registered Senior Member

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    But we are just mortal in ' Form ' not in material.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    TO make us immortal we may have to correct it from the ' day one ' of our basic evolution & modren environment may be making us more mortal.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2004
  17. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    If you would reallyt want to be immortal you would want to have great regeneration capabilities. Unfortunately there is no way to accomplish this by changing a gene. We would have to change probably almost every aspect of being human, which would create something that is rather non-human.
     
  18. Kumar Registered Senior Member

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    Immortality can be somewhat like this:-
    Law of conservation of matter -
    "matter cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system"

    Law of conservation of energy -
    "the total energy of an isolated system is constant despite internal changes"

    Also look at this:-

    1. In the Universe there is a finite amount of matter and energy. We cannot create any new matter or energy nor can we destroy any of the matter or energy we have for the Universe as a whole.

    2. We can change matter to energy and energy to matter without gaining or losing any of either to the Universe.

    3. Energy can be changed in form, from one to another, without any loss to the Universe.

    4. Matter can be changed in form, or state, without any loss of matter to the Universe.

    In the above form/sense we are immortal, otherwise not/can't. However, we can think of just "Longevity" in our present form.

    Can we say that " Longevity" or " great regeneration capabilities" is/can be just effected by the environmental effects surrounding us?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2004
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Why would you think that?
     
  20. Kumar Registered Senior Member

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    Apart from genetic mutations(which may had also already be effected by the previous environment), environments surrounding us can change/effect us accordingly? Btw, what basically creates variations in one generation to other next generations?
     
  21. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    There is more than one gene for aging but none of them affect telomerase as I have said before. It seems, telomeres are not the key to aging.
     
  22. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    what has tha got to do with aging?
     
  23. Brandon9000 Registered Senior Member

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    Not sure what this has to do with extending a person's life span, or how the above will help me as I age and my body deteriorates.
     

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