Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Klotho is a gene that adds an extra 30% on to the lifespan of mice when they receive an extra copy of the gene. Previously, it was shown that restricting caloric intake in mice produced the same effect, although similar studies in larger animals didn't have the same results. It remains to be seen if the Klotho gene will have an effect in larger animals, but would raise some interesting questions if it someday could be applied to humans. There is certainly an ethical responsibility to sustain life, but is there one to extend life? Particularly if increasing one's life span also increases the chances of contracting an illness like heart disease, etc...? Would insurance companies pay for gene therapy to insert an extra Klotho gene or for a prescription drug that boosts the effectivness of the Klotho gene product?


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