Data Mining the Process of Aging

A lot of work has gone into mapping the human (and other species) genome. In the process, researchers learned that understanding the blueprint of life is much more complicated than categorizing specific genes. DNA and its composite genes are simply the software of life. Evolution created nanomachines like enzymes to run this software. The code is turned into amino acids which are turned into proteins which cascade up into all the infrastructure and activity that makes up life.

Scientists who study aging point to several different processes at work, many that appear to be tied to the processes that develop the growing human. To better understand aging, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes and his team at Harvard Medical in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed a tool called GenAge. GenAge is an online database that compiles the known data about genes involved in aging, so that other researchers can test their theories using data mining and other techniques.

The use of computer technology for the study of biology has become one of the most far-reaching paradigm shifts in the past twenty years. The processes of life are strangely similar to the compiling of binary code into useful software programs. This observation has given support to those who claim that humans are advanced robots created through evolution based on code stored in DNA. It also lends support to the idea that technology and biology will one day merge into new species.

Meanwhile, using GenAge, researchers hope to develop a better theory of aging in hopes of improving quality of life and perhaps even extending life.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.