Why do humans live so much longer than other, short lived species? The researchers here provide evidence to suggest that it is a matter of many small changes, with the specific area of investigation being the the cellular repair mechanisms of autophagy. A world in which differences in longevity between species are the summed contributions from countless small effects is one in which we should discount the possibility that comparative genetic studies – between long-lived and short-lived humans, or between humans and other species – can yield silver bullets, findings that can on their own offer the potential to dramatically improve health and longevity. That expectation, and the sizable mountain of other evidence for the “many tiny contributions” model can be weighed against the recent reports of human PAI-1 mutants with a seven year greater life expectancy than their peers. I wouldn’t have wagered on the discovery of such a thing, given what is otherwise known of the genetics of longevity.
Research into the importance of protein called p62 shows that a collection of small adaptations in stress activated proteins, accumulated over millennia of human history,
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