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Ageless Quest

Biography / Memoir

By: L Guarente

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Hardback | Dec 2003 | #150375 | ISBN: 0879696524
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NHBS Price: £3.99 $5/€4 approx

About this book

A personal account of the author's pursuit of a genetic 'cure' for ageing. Ageing has traditionally been regarded as a highly complex process but recent research has identified a relatively simple mechanism that governs the pace of ageing. This book gives an insider's view of the discoveries that have changed our understanding of the ageing process.

Part autobiography, part social commentary, part science, [Ageless Quest] does an excellent job of explaining and extolling the use of model organisms for research into ageing... Ageless Quest conveys some quite difficult ideas and complex experimental results with a clarity and freshness that deserve to make it widely read. Nature Ageless Quest is a personal account of a rich and active academic life, in which descriptions of the scientific work that led to the discovery of Sir2, a potentially important biochemical factor that influences life's clock, are mixed with autobiographical sketches. The book is reminiscent in more than one way of Jim Watson's classic, The Double Helix, in that it paints an accurate picture of how scientific research was, and is, done: the excitement, the frustrations, the fear of competitors and the race for 'high-impact' publications. Ageless Quest is, therefore, not just a book about ageing, nor just about genes and proteins; it is also about people, and the nitty-gritty of doing science at the end of the twentieth century. One of the most endearing features of this little book, which can be read over the course of a weekend (or during a lengthy run of a native gel, to put it in scientists' time-units as well), is that its author pays tribute to the many people he has worked with over the years; or, to be more precise, to the dedicated and eager young scientists who have worked for him - a noteworthy difference. EMBO reports Basically a personal account of research into aging, including descriptions of his students and postdocs and their work at the laboratory bench, the book is a pleasure to read. The author writes with the clarity of a first-class journalist, an infectious enthusiasm and an eye for the revealing anecdote. Although the relevance of Sir2 and survival mechanisms discovered in short-lived laboratory organisms to aging in mammals is still questionable, I am convinced that by opening this avenue of research, Guarente and kindred spirits have done much to draw outstanding scientists into aging research, thereby shaking this file dout of its stuffy reputation. That alone makes Ageless Quest and the story of its simple pursuit a timely contribution to the growing literature on why and how we age. Nature Genetics


Mid-life crisis; getting started in aging; first genetic insight; identification of the AGE locus; the rise and fall of rDNA circles and the emergence of SIR2; a molecular blueprint for prolonging life span; SIR2 as a universal regulator of survival; nature promotes survival in the face of scarcity; theories of aging - SIR2 is more evolutionary than revolutionary; calorie restriction and life span; aging and cancer in mammals; relevance to human aging; starting a biotechnology company - drugs for aging?; aging gracefully in the 21st century.

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