Scientists Unlock Possible Aging Secret in Genetically Altered Fruit Fly

Researchers established that the mutated Indy gene helped fruit flies live longer. They have now explored what mechanisms lead to the longer life of the fruit fly. (Indy flies’ life span increased from an average life span of about 35 days to 70 days.)

The researchers decided the best way to try to understand how the Indy mutation might extend life span would be to study the differences in molecular changes between the Indy flies and normal flies throughout their entire life. By comparing the expression level of all genes in the Indy flies to that of normal flies, they made an important finding. Some of the genes involved in generating the power necessary for normal cell life were expressed at lower levels in the Indy flies.

This led to a decrease in free radicals and the damage they normally cause in the cell, but it surprisingly did not decrease the overall amount of energy in the cell. These studies provide evidence for possible interventions that can alter metabolism in a way that reduces free-radical or oxidative damage and extends life span, without some of the negative consequences normally associated with a change in metabolism.

As readers here know separately Genescient has a population of fruit flies that live 4.5 times longer than normal and have identified 700+ genes that are correlated to aging. Genescient Co-founder and Chairman Gregory Benford believes that they can use supplements and already FDA approved drugs and ingredients to stimulate those genes to rapidly get life extending and health enhancing effects widely available.

Here is the abstract of the research paper

Long-lived Indy [I’m Not Dead Yet] induces reduced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and oxidative damage

Decreased Indy activity extends lifespan in D. melanogaster without significant reduction in fecundity, metabolic rate, or locomotion. To understand the underlying mechanisms leading to lifespan extension in this mutant strain, we compared the genome-wide gene expression changes in the head and thorax of adult Indy mutant with control flies over the course of their lifespan. A signature enrichment analysis of metabolic and signaling pathways revealed that expression levels of genes in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway are significantly lower in Indy starting at day 20. We confirmed experimentally that complexes I and III of the electron transport chain have lower enzyme activity in Indy long-lived flies by Day 20 and predicted that reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in mitochondria could be reduced. Consistently, we found that both ROS production and protein damage are reduced in Indy with respect to control. However, we did not detect significant differences in total ATP, a phenotype that could be explained by our finding of a higher mitochondrial density in Indy mutants. Thus, one potential mechanism by which Indy mutants extend life span could be through an alteration in mitochondrial physiology leading to an increased efficiency in the ATP/ROS ratio.

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Quantum computers can handle different kinds of algorithms. so for certain kinds of problems quantum computers would be superior to a molecular classical computer. A molecular classical computer like this would be could be a million times faster than the best petaflop machines that we have now. Estimates for the human brain are 100 teraflop to 20 petaflops.

A large quantum computer with millions of qubits or more would be able to process certain problems faster.
If the qubits could allow say a problem to be solved as the square root of n * n where is the qubits versus the best classical algorithm which might be some exponential function or X**3 or something. then you could see when X**0.333 (where X is the flops of the molecular computer, change the functions based on the kind of problem) is less than n qubits.

This is the same answer that I provided for you at the CRN site just now.
Quantum algorithm versus classical need to be compared.

also some of the dwave systems might only be quantum annealing which might cap out million to a billion times faster than classical. So enough brute force from a molecular computer could whittle down where it would make sense to use a quantum computer. There is also the issue of making the molecular computer easy to program and use. Computing is a tough space because tweaking how we work with CMOS technology could get us to exaflop speeds. Plus the possibility of all optical computers could also be easier than molecular computers. However, the molecular computer would stand out with form factors that the other computers could not match. Putting a lot of really tiny computing and control where you need it like in nanobots.


Hello Brian,

I was wondering how this would compare to the speed increases of a quantum computer. Would it be equal to QC's speed without the problem of decoherence and only having certain algorithems that are faster than a normal computer?

John Akers


Got to love competition. They always belittle even the greatest breakthroughs. To me this seems like a HUGE step in the right direction. I mean if we have the computational power of the brain in only a few years... I don't see the singularity being that far away. Very near indeed.