Breaking the Code of Immortality

Photo Credit: Alex Joseph, Chris Herd

Photo Credit: Alex Joseph, Chris Herd

Araceli De La Torre Marin, OwlFeed Managing News Editor

Immortality, for most people, might seem impossible to have, however, scientists are trying to make that impossible idea possible. 

If they were to succeed, in their words from the book, “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” by Yuval Noah Harari, “We would be upgraded into gods. We would never have to fear death because it would never happen.” 

For the past 15 years, scientists have used the study of the molecular structure of DNA, its cellular activities (including its replication), and its influence in determining the overall makeup of an organism on laboratory organisms, which has revolutionized research on aging. 

Photo Credit: Alex Joseph, Chris Herd

“By systematically manipulating the genes of worms, flies, and yeast cells, investigators have identified dozens of genes that can extend the normal lifespan of each of these species,” said David Walker, author of the article “Achieving Immortality” in American Scientist. 

Scientists have found out that mammalian counterparts share the same life-expanding properties in some genes – in mice. They found out that the life span is a plastic trait and they have recognized a large number of genes that can act to delay the aging process. 

The bad news of all that they found out about our life span genes, is scientists know next to nothing about how these genes influence our life expectancy.

There is evidence that 5 million years ago, the life cycle doubled (from 20 to 40 years). Humans have a shared ancestor with great apes which evolved into Homo sapiens.  “These are two important contributing factors: a meat-rich diet and exposure to infection,” according to Caleb E. Finch, professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California, in the book “The Biology of Human Longevity.”

In the past two centuries, society has seen the second major extension of human longevity. The human lifespan has doubled because of improvements in hygiene and nutrition, with an assist from vaccination programs. 

Photo Credit: Alex Joseph, Chris Herd

For thousands of years, humans have tried to crack the formula for immortality, from bathing in pigs’ blood to drinking gold.  In “Homo Deus,” Harari said there were theories on how scientists would be able to achieve immortality. And not only that but also turn humans into godlike beings. 

Harari wrote of three possibilities:  biological engineering, cyborg engineering and the engineering of non-organic beings. 

With that being said, if scientists were able to unlock immortality with one of these three ways, more specifically cyborg engineering, there would be a chance of humans being upgraded with a few new features, such as the possibility of flying or being about to search, watch, or text without devices.  

If scientists were able to achieve immortality, humans would probably not only be able to live on Earth but most likely on other planets as well. The possibilities are endless on what humans would be able to do if they had immortality. 

Becoming immortal might just seem like an idea out of science fiction. So let’s see if this idea of the future can now become a reality of the present.