Cynthia Kenyon: A Genetic Control Circuit for Aging

In the early 1990s, most scientists did not think that aging was subject to active regulation by the genes. Exciting results from Dr. Kenyon’s lab, however, showed that a single mutation in the daf-2 gene caused the tiny roundworm C. elegans to live twice as long as normal. This gene encodes a hormone receptor that regulates lifespan not only in worms, but in flies, mammals and possibly humans as well.

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About the Speaker

Cynthia Kenyon is a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her lab continues to elucidate the mechanisms of lifespan regulation in C.elegans, and she is now looking for small molecules that activate these pathways in human cultured cells as well.

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