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In brief : Elixir of life

点击量:   时间:2017-06-08 07:01:01

METHUSELAHS of the fly world are hinting that the anti-ageing effects of antioxidants stem from their ability to influence gene expression, and not simply to mop up toxic chemicals. A team led by Christine Brack at the University of Basel in Switzerland showed that fruit flies fed the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) lived 26 per cent longer than controls. And the more NAC the flies ate, the more messenger RNA they produced (Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, vol 53, p 960). Messenger RNA is the intermediary between genes and the proteins they encode. This suggests that NAC activates genes. “We don’t know how far we can extrapolate these results to humans,” says Brack. “But it’s intriguing.” If the genes NAC switches on can be identified,