The search for never-ending youth

When it comes to aging well, having “good genes” (or rather, mutant ones) is key, says Cynthia Kenyon. She unlocked the genetic secret of longevity in roundworms — and now she’s working to do the same for humans.

What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a simple genetic mutation that can double the lifespan of a simple worm, C. elegans. The lessons from that discovery, and others, are pointing to how we might one day significantly extend youthful human life.

“Ten years ago, we thought aging was probably the result of a slow decay, a sort of rusting. But Professor Kenyon has shown that it’s … controlled by genes. That opens the possibility of slowing it down with drugs.” — Jeff Holly, Bristol University

Will we one day be looking at a different subset of humans that live far longer lives? Cynthia explains this as if how dog’s see us, the dog will age but doesn’t really see us humans age. One day this may be our generation looking at the next.


Cynthia Kenyon · Biochemist, geneticist