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UC San Diego Team Uses Synthetic Biology to Boost Yeast Cell Lifespan

A synthetic oscillator that switches between two cellular aging processes can boost the lifespan of yeast cells by more than 80 percent, according to a report in Science. The work highlights the potential of synthetic biology to enhance longevity. While advances in synthetic biology are enabling the design of gene networks that can confer specific biological functions, doing so with a trait as complex as longevity remains extremely challenging. Aiming to overcome this, University of California, San Diego scientists rewired a naturally occurring toggle switch that underlies fate decisions toward either nucleolar or mitochondrial decline during the aging of yeast cells to generate sustained oscillations between the two processes in individual cells. The oscillations, they show, delays the commitment of yeast cells to either of the aging processes, increasing life span up to 82 percent versus wild-type cells. "Our work represents a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the successful application of synthetic biology to reprogram the cellular aging process, and may lay the foundation for designing synthetic gene circuits to effectively promote longevity in more complex organisms," the researchers write.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

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Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.