No radical life extension, says Nature paper, but Russian gets stem cell infusion to go for it

Any takers on the idea that we can get radical life extension through new technologies like stem cells, organ replacement, cybernetics, or genetic modification? Or just through healthier living in general?

A new Nature paper says there’s a natural limit on human lifespan around age 115 and getting past that is just not going to happen.

jeanne-calment

Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122. Photo NY TImes/Getty

They don’t discuss (that I saw on a brief look) how new technologies could break this “rule”. Carl Zimmer has a nice NYT article on this development and on human aging more generally.

It also discusses the curious case of Jeanne Calment (pictured above) who lived to be 122, which the authors of the Nature paper would say was an extreme fluke.

It’s ironic that on the same day I saw all of this about limitations, I also noticed an article (via Google alert on stem cells) in the Russian newspaper Pravda about a scientist there who will get an infusion of stem cells to try to defy aging.

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Recommended weekend reading on stem cells & science

I try to catch up on my science reading over the weekends and evenings. Here’s my recommended weekend reading on stem cells & science.

Did I miss anything especially cool? Let me know in the comments.

Direct reprogramming of skin cells into insulin-producing cells. I love direct reprogramming.

Healios and Athersys Enter Into Regenerative Medicine Partnership. Can they together create regen med success?

National honor for helping “the blind see” comes from CIRM blog.

human animal chimeras

Fun piece on CRISPR language by Ben Zimmer. ‘Crispr’ Breaks Out Of the Lab. If you don’t know what a backronym is, you should be interested in learning more.

Big claims here for zero off targets for a next gen CRISPR system. Zero is a very small number, eh?

The gut microbiome of the 5,000 year old frozen dude turn out to be a goldmine of sorts of info. Nice piece by Carl Zimmer, Ben’s brother. OK, what did these two brothers who are unusually great writers eat while growing up? Wheaties? 

George Church on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Wonder what Letterman would think of George’s Top 10 List for genes with interesting phenotypes in humans? See my interview with Church for that list and a lot more interesting perspectives.

Human-animal chimeras, Antonio Regalado, tells us in a nifty article are currently gestating on farms (image above from that piece).

Ed Yong writes that CRISPR’s most exciting applications are in gene transcriptional regulation (admittedly a cool area) rather than in genetic modification. Great piece, but I disagree with the superlative.

New #CRISPR updates: Editas to go public, patent issues, dragons & more

CRISPR dragon

Dragon image from Wikipedia

A lot has been going on in the CRISPR world. Here are some key CRISPR updates.

Editas has filed the paperwork on the road to going public as a company. Such an IPO, should it come to fruition, could raise billions of dollars. Will the other CRISPR companies like Caribou and CRISPR Therapeutics follow suit? Simplistically, it seems like the first CRISPR IPO could get the lion’s share of investor money, but then there’s the patent thing hanging over all of this (see below)

Patent dispute rolls on. Jacob Sherkow over at the Stanford Law Blog dug into recent developments in the CRISPR patent battle. One big thing is the interference proceeding. A patent person I recently communicated with on this topic has some different views than Sherkow on much of this. I’m hoping to blog about that soon.

CRISPR on the news. If you missed it, Jennifer Doudna and I were interviewed by Gwen Ifill on the PBS News Hour last week (see below).

A BBC piece came out that was the subject of quite a bit of discussion on Twitter about whether CRISPR could be used to make a dragon. The item mentioned an article by Hank Greely and Alta Charo on CRISPR Critters (animals made using CRISPR) that had referenced the possibility of making a dragon. I tweeted that that was unlikely but that making a unicorn (adding a horn genetically to horses) was relatively more plausible.

A lively discussion followed including Carl Zimmer, Leonid Kruglyak, and Matthew Herper.

TGIF links to tip-top weekend science reading

Some stuff to read, think about, and do.

Super Science Weekend Reading

Here’s some thought-provoking weekend reading.

ALEXEY. CLINICAL CELL PROCESSING NEWS – PART 1, 2015

BIOPOLITICAL TIMES. MITOCHONDRIAL MISSION CREEP AND THE CLONING CONNECTION

CALIFORNIA STEM CELL REPORT. CALIFORNIA’S BOB KLEIN PROPOSES $100 BILLION, INTERNATIONAL STEM CELL/GENOMICS VENTURE

CARL ZIMMER. A NEW THEORY ON HOW NEANDERTHAL DNA SPREAD IN ASIA

DN LEE. YOU SHOULD KNOW: MICHELLE HUNTER AND EXPLORING NEUROSCIENCE THROUGH ART

DRUGMONKEY BLOG. NIH CLUMSILY TRIES TO .. [SOMETHING] … FOR GRANT REVIEWERS

ED YONG. FAST-EVOLVING HUMAN DNA LEADS TO BIGGER-BRAINED MICE

GORSKI. BLOWING THE ANTIVACCINE DOG WHISTLE AGAIN

KELLY HILLS. PRIMUM NON NOCERE AND THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH

MARYN MCKENNA. A FACTORY FARMER STRIKES BACK AT THE COMPANY HE FARMS FOR

MICHELLE GOLDBERG. FEMINIST WRITERS ARE SO BESIEGED BY ONLINE ABUSE THAT SOME HAVE BEGUN TO RETIRE

VIRGINIA HUGHES. VITAMIX BLENDERS SPIN OFF SHARDS OF TEFLON — BUT IT’S PROBABLY OK