The key to eternal life could be a procedure to lengthen chromosomes.
The procedure would allow scientists to lengthen telomeres, the protective caps that are on the end of chromosomes and shorten with age.
The telomeres protect chromosomes from getting damage as cells divide and grow. But as they do, they slowly become shorter and eventually are unable to protect the chromosomes. When that happens, they are liable to deteriorate — thought to be a key part of the ageing process.
The new process allows scientists to lengthen the telomeres, effectively turning back the biological clock and making the chromosomes — and the people that are made out of them — younger.
Personally, I’d settle for a thousand years – a thousand years in the body I had at 25. Or even 35. I’d settle for the one I have now, but the wrong side of 50 isn’t as much fun (physically) as being a 20-something was. Think of the outdoor adventure stories one could amass with a thousand years to hunt, fish, and bum around in the woods.
But the implications of near-immortality go way beyond how many elk one might take. Think of a respectable cohort of near-immortals with the sense to spend fifty years socking away a good savings account – and then spending another hundred letting compound interest do its thing. Some of those people (I’d like to think I’d be savvy enough myself) would amass fortunes that would make Bill Gates look like Tommy Joad.
Think of what that would do to real estate prices – the stock market – the RV sales business – almost anything.
What price immortality? I can only imagine; this is an economic scenario I’d love to see a Thomas Sowell weigh in on.