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Researchers Successfully Engineer Synthetic Gene Oscillator to Slow Cellular Aging and Promote Longevity

In a recent breakthrough, researchers have successfully engineered a synthetic gene oscillator to slow cellular aging and promote longevity. The team, led by Lei Stanley Qi and Chao Tang at Stanford University, used computational biology to redesign gene circuits and map deteriorative processes in yeast cells. The oscillator became an “executable idea” in 2020 after the team identified the two main deteriorative processes that occur in the nucleus and mitochondria. The researchers believe that this process can eventually be applied to humans through gene therapy. If maintaining oscillations promotes balance in the cell and longevity on a universal scale, periodic pharmacological and nutritional interventions may also be developed. Howard Salis, an associate professor of biological and chemical engineering at Penn State University, notes that human cells contain similar age-committing genetic circuitry, making the same method of rewiring a possibility. The team’s recent study on “Engineering longevity” was published in the journal Science and includes researchers Zhen Zhou, Yuting Liu, Yushen Feng, Stephen Klepin, Lev Tsimring, Lorraine Pillus, and Jeff Hasty.

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