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Gene Ther. 2009 Jan;16(1):3-9. doi: 10.1038/gt.2008.166. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Progress & prospects: gene therapy in aging.

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Laboratory of Cellular Ageing, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.


Studies performed on various experimental model systems indicate that genetic interventions can increase longevity, even if in a highly protected laboratory condition. Generally, such interventions required partial or complete switching off of the gene and inhibiting the activity of its gene products, which normally have other well-defined roles in metabolic processes. Overexpression of some genes, such as stress response and antioxidant genes, in some model systems also extends their longevity. Such genetic interventions may not be easily applicable to humans without knowing their effects on human growth, development, maturation, reproduction and other characteristics. Studies on the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms and multiple polymorphisms (haplotype) in genes with human longevity have identified several genes whose frequencies increase or decrease with age. Whether genetic redesigning can be achieved in the wake of numerous and complex epigenetic factors that effectively determine the life course and the life span of an individual still appears to be a 'mission impossible'.

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