Evolution Toward Immortality?

This is not my thought. It’s a transcribed comment from a science group I follow.

Evolution isn’t done with us yet…and the latest innovations may well be still in their ‘Beta’ phase i.e. unreliable and not yet fully functional.

One of the major components of cellular aging is the shortening of telomeres: the protective ends of chromosomes. But there is a cure for this shortening problem.  It is called telomerase, the enzyme that can lengthen telomeres and so, in many cases around the human body, restore youth or halt aging.

Why doesn’t telomerase reactivate?  Every cell in the body has the formula for telomerase written into its DNA, so transcription is possible.

But the only cellular population that switches telomerase back on (apart from during our period of maturation) is cancer.  And cancer tends to prefer damaged or old tissue.

Is it possible that evolution is trying to figure out a way to switch telomerase back on for old or damaged tissue, but the process, far from perfection, screws up each time and we end up with cancer instead?

It is an intriguing thought ~ that when evolution finally gets it right then some of the most prominent manifestations of aging will gradually disappear, perhaps leaving the majority of the population to age gracefully into their early 100s and, perhaps, beyond!!

A dizzyingly pregnant hypothesis. Seems to me the key to unlocking the human potential for almost infinitely youthful lifespans lies in a full understanding of cancer — that most mysterious of afflictions — and how to corral its cruel destructiveness into something beneficial.

A lifespan measured in the hundreds of years, the great majority of those years lived in prime time vigor, a world of 80-year-old rock hard boners saluting at full mast and breasts pointing skyward joyously defiant of gravity, would so radically alter humanity’s relationship with just about every social, political and religious institution I can think of that predictions on the matter are futile. But you’re free to try.

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