Gregory Benford of Genescient Talks at the HPlus Summit

Bryan Bishop posted transcripts of the talks at the Hplus Summit
Gregory Benford of Genescient talked about their latest work. They have methuselah fruit flies that live 4-5 times longer. They believe that they have products that could increase human lifespan 10-30% or more.

* a product that we will deploy commercially in 6 months around most of the world.
* human physiological trials now, write your email on a piece of paper and give it to [Gregory Benford], and you will get notified within 2 days. You will have to get some medical measurements made, which cost about $500. The safety trials have already been done and I’ve been taking the supplements for a year and I’m not dead yet.

* fruit flies not reproducing until half were dead.
* gone through 470 generations
* The cofounder and I bought these flies and did the genomics
* the genetic overlap between flies and humans is 80%
* The flies resist all sorts of bad things like infection. We found about 1000 changes in the fly genome. We’re doing the same with mice.

The flies were the beta testing for everything that followed. We separated from them 600 million years ago. We confirmed in the publicly available databases that these are genes associated with longevity. We used the Welcome Trust data which was about 18,000 people. After we used selection as a supercomputer to pull information out of the genome, which nobody has done before on earth, these flies are unique in this regard. We then worked backwards. How do you act to up-regulate the genes? How do you make the flies live longer? This has taken 4 years to develop.

We focused on cardio genes. Cardio kills over half of us. And the flies just fly around and eat sugar. We’re talking all of those disease groups. The first product will have a cardio set. Not just a few genes, but networks of genes, which we have shown in lab animals.

Increases of lifespan of 30%. We have repeated this many times. We also have products in the pipeline, about 8 others, that operate on that, and some metabolic problems, and they increase lifespan by 10% to 30% depending on which one you have. The point is that these disorders can be affected by up-regulating gene expression. Eat those vegetables, get some exercise, well that was just my mother. Those things really do up-regulate those genes. What we have is a system for using the genomic information that has been harvested by artificial selection (not natural selection) to produce “nutrigenomic”. It has a role in mitochondrial effects. Um. Actually, this is what Genescient has done. It’s broken up into steps. The rate of aging can be understood in terms of genomics. We found what that means in humans, orthologs. We used the orthologs to develop a product. There will be many such products following. We have a laboratory hiring all the time. We’re looking at every disorder group we have. We want to bring in some new disease groups.