This makes me think again of some very interesting stuff I've looked into. Did you know that if all our cells had an active gene for producing the enzyme telomerase, our cells wouldn't become unable of dividing when they age. Technically, we would remain in our prime forever, assuming we didn't get hit by a bus, get cancer, die of an infection, overdose on a toxic chemical or drug, have a heart attack from years of poor diet, or whatever else.
It's interesting to think that with the help of modern medicine to assist the few problems beyond our personal control, and combine that with a healthy lifestyle and the ability to produce this enzyme, we could live forever.
All of our cells have this ability, it's just that most of the cells have it blocked by a protein produced by another gene that shuts it off. I believe stem cells have the ability to produce telomerase. There are many types of cancer that also activate this enzyme, allowing them and all their copies to divide indefinitely. Normally, we get one cell that has a full copy of its DNA, and when it divides, the other two cells have one strand with a full copy the other strand (in the double helix) has a tiny bit missing off of the end. When those divide, each will have one cell that has a full copy and copy with a little piece missing, and the other cell will have one strand with a little piece missing and another strand with two little pieces missing. We have extra DNA at the ends called telomeres, and these code for nothing important. When this process keeps happening, eventualy the telomeres will run out and the important DNA will start to become damaged.
Imagine if we could produce this enzyme telomerase that repaired those damaged ends, allowing our cells to divide forever. There's so many questions and possiblities with this.
I know that was a little off topic, but this post spiked my interest in it again.
Neo-Cortex, Frontal Lobe<br />Brainstem! Brainstem! <br />Hippocampus, Neural Node, Right Hemisphere...