Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
Social Issues – In yet another instance of science fiction meeting reality, scientists have discovered a way to predict how long someone will live by measuring their genes in some of the earliest stages of life. Gattaca anyone?
Apparently it’s all in the telomeres, which are perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to aging; the longer the telomeres, the longer the lifespan. Of course, this is barring things like freak accidents and lifestyle factors.
The telomeres are an important part of the genetic make-up as they “stop DNA from unraveling,” and scientists describe them as acting “like the plastic ends on shoelaces to protect chromosomes from wear and tear.”
It’s not all good news though, as the telomeres begin to shrink the moment we are born. The theory is that the longer they are when you are born, the better off you will be, because when they get “too short, they stop working,” and then, well…
“The results from this research show that what happens in our bodies in early life is very important [...] It is not understood why there are variations of telomere length but if you had a choice, you would want to be born with longer telomeres,” said Pat Monaghan, the leader of the study at Glasgow University.
“But it must be remembered that how you live has a big effect. This isn’t quite the case of nature taking over nurture,” Monaghan added.
While the thought of knowing your expiration date is intriguing, it’s likely that the knowledge will cause people to be reckless thinking that they have “X” amount of years to live, and forget the disclaimer that your lifestyle choices may shorten the telomeres prematurely.
Read More at Daily Mail.