BEAUTY&STYLE Published January5, 2015 By Staff Writer

Will We Owe Our Long Life to the Whales?

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Despite what sci-fi movies tell you, so far, there's no secret to immortality. At some point, we'll all die. However, in the back of our minds, we want to make sure we'll be around for a much longer time.

Thus, we haven't given up finding the secret to the fountain of youth. A team of researchers and scientists from Liverpool University, for example, is looking at the bowhead whale for some understanding.

The bowhead whale or Balaena mysticetus is a stocky whale that doesn't have any dorsal fin. It also has a very strong jaw that is capable of breaking some ice in the Arctic. On the average, it can grow to 20 meters and weigh 100 tons.

For the scientists, however, what's interesting about this whale is the fact that, provided it isn't a target for whaling, it can live for 200 years-a feat that is so hard to achieve by any other human. In fact, they're considered the longest-living mammals in the planet.

Thus, the team is now trying to sequence the genome of this whale. They hope that it can shed light to some of the common questions related to the biology especially aging of different species including whales and humans.

Speaking to CBS News, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, the lead researcher, mentions how mice and even primates that are considered to be closely related to humans such as chimpanzees age faster than us. Hence, there must also be some explanation why these whales outlive us even if it should be more vulnerable to diseases because it has way more cells than us.

Initial reports of the study suggest that the whales tend to have genes that are capable of repairing damaged DNA and controlling how they grow. Further, about 80 genes may be responsible for preventing the development of cancer.

The team, however, wants to emphasize that it may take a long time before this study can be used for something related to humans. Supplements with bowhead whales may not be available anytime soon either, especially since commercial whaling for this species is already prohibited.  

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