The biggest names in science and technology want one thing: to achieve immortality. The genetics of immortality are slowly becoming understood, while scientific and technological breakthroughs are imminent. Google’s Calico program recently expanded its reach by partnering with QB3, Broad Institute and AbbVie to pump billions of dollars into research programs focused on the process of aging, among other areas of scientific interest.
Believe it or not, immortality has been observed in nature on countless occasions. A rare genetic condition has left a handful of people around the world free from the ill effects of aging. On top of that, many organisms are protected by similar mutated genetics. For example, the lobster never stops aging–but it still eventually dies due to disease or predation.
Of course, Calico isn’t only interested in genetics. The program also invests money into medicine, drug development and molecular biology.
How do we confer the genetics of immortality to humans?
According to statements made by futurist Michio Kaku four years ago, the doubling of computer power every 18 months would lead to the sequencing of human genomes for about $1000 within ten years. Of course, he was off by quite a bit–because we can pretty much already do that.
At the time, Kaku said this price point would allow us to sequence enough genomes to isolate the genes in which aging takes place. If we know which genes are damaged, and how those genes work, then we can start to repair or protect them. When biology is reduced to computer science, he says, we’ll be able to confer the genetics of immortality to humans.
Many researchers believe that those of us alive today will be living and breathing for a thousand years or more.
For now, most scientists agree that the biggest priority for life extension is to cure heart disease and all forms of cancer. Not until we eliminate these ailments can we hope to tackle the longtime dream of living forever.
Here’s a TEDx Talk on immortality. If you don’t think we should learn about the genetics of immortality, Aubrey de Grey does a pretty good job of explaining why you’re wrong. Hint: one of the most obvious reasons revolves around the ever-growing costs of healthcare. Check it out: