Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings. Scientists have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life.
As I science fiction writer I can’t help but think, IMMORTAL RULING CLASS.
One might think that this doesn’t prevent disease and accident. Well it doesn’t, but for disease, if we can find a way to extend life indefinitely, I imagine we can find a cure for cancer. I can see Google money, and other wealthy corporations investing in this.
Now imagine, a world with people who live 500 years on one end and a people who live to 45 at the other.
For the first time the worlds populace is expected to have a shorter life span than recent generations. Primarily due to the chemical stew we live in and industrialized foods that are no better than eating cardboard. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, and vascular dysfunction have a free ticket to ride. Add in poverty and lack of education and we have a born an immortal ruling class of veritable demi-gods presiding over unknowing masses.
Isn’t Bill Gates looking younger?