The quest for immortality has fueled human longing since humans first walked upright. When two University of California researchers found in the early 1990s they could extend healthful life by tweaking one gene in a lowly lab worm, the interest and investment exploded in a way unlike any other recent science story. As the pace of discovery accelerated, so did powerful personal rivalries and public fascination, driven by the hope that a longer, healthier life for us was around the corner. As the global population ages, the potential impact of these discoveries on society is vast—as is the potential for profit.
The Longevity Seekers takes readers inside a tale that began with worms and branched out to snare innovative minds from California to Crete, investments from big biotech, and endorsements from TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Oz. Some of the research was remarkable, such as the discovery of an enzyme in humans that stops cells from aging. And some, like an oft-cited study touting the compound resveratrol found in red wine—turned out to be highly controversial, igniting a science war over truth, credit, and potential profit.
This book offers a behind-the-scenes look at the state of the research and the impact it might have on global public health, society, and even our friends and family. With all the elements of a great story, The Longevity Seekers sheds light on discoveries that could fundamentally reshape human life.