Age is the biggest risk factor for just about every common disease in high-income countries, which suggests that slowing down cellular aging would have massive effects on individual and public health. Delaying the average onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five years, for example, would roughly halve its prevalence. But in practice, there are no approved anti-aging medications.
“People often think about the genome as the blueprint of the organism, but that’s not really correct,” Steven Quake told reporters at a Science press briefing earlier this week. “The genome is more of a parts list, because every cell type uses different parts.” Quake is president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network, and professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford University.