Studnice mládí objevena

Od chvíle, kdy si člověk začal uvědomovat sebe sama, uvažuje o vlastní smrtelnosti a sní o tom, jak nad ní vítězí. Až do nedávné doby byla moc nad dlouhověkostí věcí z říše pohádek, která se skutečným vědeckým pokrokem neměla nic společného. V poslední době ovšem vědecký výzkum směřuje k detailnímu pochopení molekulárních základů stárnutí. Praktická aplikace těchto poznatků by pak mohla záhy následovat.

S nedávnými vědeckými objevy v tomto směru nepřišel výzkum na lidech, ani na krysách či myších, ale na jednoduchých laboratorních organismech, jako jsou kvasnice a škrkavky. Tyto primitivní formy života nám poskytly zásadní a obecně platné klíče, jež otevřely cestu k celkovému přehodnocení podstaty procesu stárnutí.

Tradiční evoluční myšlení chápe stárnutí jako proces, který standardně nastává v postreprodukční fázi života. V souladu s Darwinovým přirozeným výběrem nelze zastavit celkový úpadek jedince, jehož geny už byly předány další generaci. Celá řada buněčných a organických procesů přestává fungovat souběžně a stárnutí tak má mnoho příčin. Z toho plyne, že abychom mohli zpomalit proces stárnutí, museli bychom napravit postreprodukční závady na mnoha genech.

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