La fuente de la juventud, develada

Desde los albores de la conciencia humana, hemos contemplado nuestra propia mortalidad y soñado con maneras de vencerla. Hasta hace poco, lograr el control sobre nuestra propia longevidad era materia de cuentos de hadas que estaban desvinculados de los avances científicos reales. Pero las nuevas investigaciones sugieren que es posible comprender en detalle las bases moleculares del envejecimiento. La aplicación de este conocimiento puede ser una consecuencia inmediata.

Los recientes descubrimientos científicos se han producido por la investigación no en humanos, o siquiera en ratas y ratones, sino en simples organismos de laboratorio como la levadura y los gusanos ascárides. Estas primitivas formas de vida han permitido llegar a importantes pistas, generalmente válidas, que han obligado a efectuar una completa reevaluación de la naturaleza del proceso de envejecimiento.

El pensamiento evolucionista tradicional ve al envejecimiento como un proceso que ocurre de manera predeterminada en la fase post-reproductiva de la vida. Después de todo, la selección natural darwiniana no puede evitar el deterioro general de una persona cuyos genes ya han sido traspasados a la siguiente generación. Según este punto de vista, muchos procesos celulares y orgánicos, por tanto, se degradan simultáneamente y el envejecimiento tiene muchas causas. Como resultado, para enlentecer el proceso de envejecimiento habría que remediar las insuficiencias post-reproductivas de una gran cantidad de genes.

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