There’s more to pond scum than meets the eye.

Blackburn is famous for her work on telomeres—the chromosome-capping entities that protect genetic material as it replicates. Telomeres wear down over time, she discovered—and that erosion corresponds to aging.

She also discovered that telomerase, an enzyme plentiful in “pond scum,” but limited in humans, rebuilds telomeres and holds the secret to longevity.

Pond scum…is “an organism that multiplies forever and ever…

It’s not so easy with human cells. Blackburn says telomerase can be a mixed blessing: while the enzyme allows the renewal of useful, necessary human cells—like blood cells—it also promotes the spread of cancer cells.

It will take more science to discover when telomerase becomes a danger, and how that knowledge might be used to improve health…

Her research has shown that people who exercise, sleep well, eat decent food, and keep a good attitude—“everything your mother told you,” she said—are more likely to preserve their telomeres and live longer…

 

Source: Here’s Why Pond Scum Will Live Longer Than You