Master Oogway’s Real Relatives Reveal Secrets for Living Up to 250 Years

The oldest giant tortoises are revealing their genetic secrets for living up to 250 years. They are animals that are in the range of human size. Female giant tortoises are about 250 pounds and male giant tortoises are about 500 pounds. There are other super long-lived creatures like whales and sharks. However, those larger creatures seem to be leveraging constant slight amounts of growth. Being in state of constant growth of 0.1 to 0.5% means that the body is constantly generating stem cells and having active regeneration.

The genome of Lonesome George was sequenced using a combination of Illumina and PacBio platforms. There was a lot of other sequencing and analysis.

An important trait of large, long-lived vertebrates is their need for tighter cancer protection mechanisms. This need for additional protection illustrates the deep relationship and interdependence between cancer and longevity. Notably, tumors are believed to be very rare in turtles. Therefore, researchers analyzed more than 400 genes classified in a well-established census of cancer genes as oncogenes and tumor suppressors. Although most presented a highly conserved amino acid sequence when compared with the sequences of other organisms, we uncovered alterations in several tumourigenesis-related genes.

Giant tortoises are among the longest-lived vertebrate animals and, as such, provide an excellent model to study traits like longevity and age-related diseases. However, genomic and molecular evolutionary information on giant tortoises is scarce. They describe a global analysis of the genomes of Lonesome George—the iconic last member of Chelonoidis abingdonii—and the Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea). Comparison of these genomes with those of related species, using both unsupervised and supervised analyses, led us to detect lineage-specific variants affecting DNA repair genes, inflammatory mediators and genes related to cancer development. Our study also hints at specific evolutionary strategies linked to increased lifespan, and expands our understanding of the genomic determinants of aging. These new genome sequences also provide important resources to help the efforts for restoration of giant tortoise populations.

Nature – Giant tortoise genomes provide insights into longevity and age-related disease

6 thoughts on “Master Oogway’s Real Relatives Reveal Secrets for Living Up to 250 Years”

  1. I do think it is possible that people lived much longer as hunter-gathereers several thousands of years ago (I think the realities of early farming and population growth favored people who sexually matured faster speeding up the aging pattern). This guy? Not a chance. Absurd claims. It also says he was 7 feet tall. Even today, 7 footers are very rare that have not had something go wrong with their pituitary gland. And it is a fact that 7 footers live shorter lives. Hard to fine one that lived past 81 and easy to find ones that only lived to 65 or less.
    If 7 foot is an exaggeration, almost certainly his age is too.

  2. Our immune system has a balancing act. We need to kill pathogens, but we need some bacteria to make a few vitamins and such and help recycle bile. If we can do these tasks ourselves, it frees up the immune system to elevate levels. Though we may have to address autoimmune diseases as as well. Bacteria on the skin probably will not be affected dramatically…just the internal stuff.

  3. Humans in the past were able to live for hundreds and Thousands of years and do it naturally. This not only legends. We lost this abiity when our the state of our consciousness got lower. Why spend millions on artificial medicine? It can still be done today naturally. Here is a well attested story of Li Ching-Yuen who lived to be 197 or 256 years depending on the account. Of course, the scientific dogma has looked to disprove this.

  4. We are the temperature we are for a few reasons. 1) Our enzymes or optimized for our body temperature, which is why we feel discomfort or are even subject to dying if we move just a few degrees from optimum. The most relevant are the ones that make the ATP in our mitochondria that our body uses as fuel for all our processes. Mitochondria could be switched with another organism…but it would not be easy, even though we have “3 parent” baby technology that uses another egg with just the mitochondria and combines that with the nuclear DNA from the real parents. I don’t think it will work that well because many of the genes that are typically in mitochondria in other species have been relocated into our nuclear DNA where it is safer from the risk of mutation. Can’t move everything, because some of these things are responsible for the danger. The mitochondria does a very dangerous job. Chances are some actual gene editing would be required to make the Mitochondria of say bowhead whales compatible. 2) We escape a lot of potential pathogens that can’t handle our body heat. They are mostly funguses and bacteria. If we greatly reduced our body temperature we would becomes subject to a whole different group of infections. This might not be a problem in space. So once we become legitimately spacefaring, this may not be an issue. There is also the possibility that we could drop the symbioses we have with bacteria. We can introduce the genes to make Biotin, and Vitamin K.

  5. I am not going to say there are no genes that might be better where they are looking, but the real reason Giant tortoises live longer than us, is that they are cold blooded. Lower metabolism greatly reduces quantum tunneling that causes lots of crosslinks and other protein damage because there is a localized heat buildup by chance because when the heat quanta run into each other where a protein is at, there is some chance that it will reach the energy concentration required for it to bond to another molecule creating a crosslink. The crosslink makes the protein useless and garbage. And these accumulations can do a lot of damage often creating obstruction, inflammation and rigidity.

    Not all whales live longer than humans, just the bowhead whale. And the reason it lives 200+ years is because it has a lower body temperature than we do. The reptiles should live 500+ years with their low temperatures, but they don’t have all the other aging protections we have.

    The birds are the one big head scratcher out there. They have high body temperatures, yet some still live long lives and while working hard. So they have some protection that we have not discovered yet. Their body temperature does fluctuate a little more than ours, but that is not enough to explain how they do it.

    Naked mole rates live very long for rodents, but they are really close to cold blooded. They are naked because they do not need the fur…they stay the same temperature as their hole.


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