Epigenetics: Why your grandchildren may live to 300
Epigenetics. Right now it is an emerging and still somewhat obscure branch of genetics. However, everyone who reads this will someday be affected by it. In simple terms it is the study of the mechanism which switches genes on and off. In 2009 science discovered a “new” nucleotide that is a new letter in the DNA code. This letter controls the 98% of non protein coding DNA in the genome. Protein coding DNA builds eyes, brains, lungs and other physical structure but this is just a small part of the code. Until recently the majority of the code was thought to be “junk DNA”. Now we know that this part of the DNA is a repository of genetic history. A recent experiment switched on a long dormant section of chicken DNA and the chicken developed teeth. Birds have not had teeth for 70 million years but the code is there only waiting to be switched on. This new code is what causes a cell to become a cancer cell. It regulates development and aging. This new development will be the basis for genetic engineering, a cure for cancer and maybe, just maybe the secret to immortality itself. Sound impossible?
You do not have to age and die.
You age because your cells have obsolescence built in i.e. they can divide no more than 50 times. However, this does not have to be the case. Stem cells do not have this limitation yet they contain exactly the same DNA coding as the rest of your cells. They are essentially immortal. Why is this significant? It proves that this cell counter can be switched off. Switch it off and you are looking at practical immortality not just for the cell but for the entire organism.