How Many Years Is That In Fungus Years?*
About 800 years, according to University of Southern California biologist Valter Longo and his colleagues who have managed to get a fungus to live 10-times longer than it usually does by deleting just two genes and forcing it on a diet. The Independent then reports some of Longo's speculations:
There is, of course, a huge difference between yeast cells and people, but that hasn't stopped Longo and his colleagues suggesting that the work is directly relevant to human ageing and longevity. "We're setting the foundation for reprogramming healthy life. If we can find out how the longevity mechanism works, it can be applied to every cell in every living organism," Longo says.
"We're very, very far from making a person live to 800 years of age. I don't think it's going to be very complicated to get to 120 and remain healthy, but at a certain point I think it will be possible to get people to live to 800. I don't think there is an upper limit to the life of any organism."
Other researchers have managed to extend the lives of organisms like nematodes and mice, while others are working on anti-aging potions to extend the lives of people. Longo is clearly speculating well beyond his results, but this kind of research will one day lead to treatments that dramatically extend human lives. Over at Long Bets, 70 percent of those voting believe that at least one human alive 2000 will be alive in 2150. I'd bet with the 70 percent.
*I know. I know. Strictly speaking the headline might better have asked "How Long Is That in Human Years?," but I just thought the fungus angle was more amusing. And yes, I do too, have a sense of humor!