The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength,
they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut
off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10
“You will never age for me, fade, or die.” Shakespeare
The lifespan of organisms varies from one species to another. Mayflies are an
example of creatures with a short life span, living only for approximately 24 hours.
In contrast, some organisms, such as a species of sponge ( Monorhaphis chuni,)
that makes its residence 2,000 meters below sea level, can survive up to 11,000
years. Additionally, certain species like the Jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii and single-
celled amoeba can live indefinitely, potentially making them functionally
However, the maximum duration of human life is currently around 110 years for
supercentenarians, while centenarians live up to 100 years. Why is the human
lifespan limited compared to that of a sponge? Despite the belief that humans are
the pinnacle of creation or at the top of the ladder of evolution, we still have a
shorter lifespan than a sponge. What are the risk factors associated with aging? Is it
the environment or lifestyle, the genes, or simply time?
To find answers to these questions, scientists used Rock Fish to study longevity because the species’ longevity varies from a decade to 200 years. Can rockfish DNA hold the secrets to a longer life?
A team of scientists from Harvard Medical School and Boston Childrens Hospital sequenced and analyzed targeted regions of the genomes of 23 rockfish species and identified specific genes ( a number of genes involved in insulin and flavonoid metabolism) linked to a longer lifespan (Science Advances. January 11, 2023). Surprisingly, these genes also correlate with human longevity or an extended human lifespan.
LET US PONDER
Since time immemorial, the pursuit of “LIVING FOREVER YOUNG” has been in the minds of mortals and continues to baffle humanity. Is DNA the sole determinant of longevity and dictates how long someone lives? Are the Insulin and Flavonoid metabolic pathways genes holding the secret recipe for the philosopher’s stone? Is it accurate to say genetics can influence how long someone lives but not age itself?
According to Stephen Treaster, a co-author, and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, the main contributing factor is not genetics or lifestyle but merely the process of aging itself. In other words, as Treaster puts it, “It’s really just age,”
In the 13th century, there was a belief among alchemists that the Philosopher’s Stone possessed the power to convert metals such as lead, iron, and copper into gold, which could serve as a potent elixir of life for achieving longevity and spiritual enlightenment. The substance was regarded as the ultimate symbol of perfection. However, despite extensive efforts, the Philosopher’s Stone was never successfully created.
In Genesis 6:3, we read, “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with
humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.
According to the Bible, before the flood, people were said to have lived up to 969
years, but from Abraham (175) to Moses, the human lifespan declined to 120 years
(Genesis 11:10-32). It begs the question of whether God has set a limit beyond
which humans cannot live. While Jeanne Calment of France was verified to have
lived for 122 years and 164 days, since 1997, no human has been verified to have
lived beyond 120 years.
Despite the discovery of longevity genes and advancements in gene editing
technology, it is inevitable that human beings will eventually face aging and
mortality. While lifestyle changes and genetic enhancements may delay aging,
time will ultimately catch up with us all. Even with extensive efforts, it is unlikely
to surpass (even if we will surpass) the lifespan of 120 years, which was set by
God. Just as the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone was never accomplished, the
reality of aging cannot be completely overcome. However, God has promised us a
timeless world where we will live as ageless beings, free from the limitations of
mortality. Our God is immutable and unchanging, and so also His promises.
“17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the [f] immutability of His counsel, [g] confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two [h] immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we [i] might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17,18