Molecular Map of Aging
Technology Review reports:<blockquote>“One of the key lessons of this work is that to understand aging, we need to be thinking not in terms of individual genes, but of networks of genes and systems of different organs,” says Daniel Promislow, a biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens, who was not involved in the project. The results, published this week in the journal PLoS Genetics, confirm the role of two processes believed to be major contributors to aging: slowed metabolism and increased inflammation.</blockquote> <blockquote>“It appears that the mouse has a mosaic of different things going on which may or may not be in synchrony with each other,” says Stuart Kim, a biologist at Stanford who led the work. These patterns of gene-expression changes aren’t clearly linked to oxidative stress–an excess of free radicals that damage cells–or other biochemical factors hypothesized to trigger aging, says Kim, so it’s not yet clear how they influence aging.</blockquote><blockquote>Kim’s analysis is likely the first of many analyses that will take advantage of the new database, dubbed AGEMAP. “The scale of this study is phenomenal,” says Promislow. “In some ways, this shows us where things are likely to be headed in coming years in terms of the kinds of experiments people will do to understand the genetic basis of complex traits.”</blockquote>With all this progress and promise, now is a great time to consider contributing to Stanford Medical Center or the Methuselah Foundation as part of your year-end tax giving program. After all, what greater and more valuable legacy could we possibly leave than longer, happier, healthier lives for our children and grandchildren, right? And if you really want to leave a legacy, you could consider setting a goal for 2008 to go to the head of the KLAS.