longevity & puberty: opinions sought

Jeff Liss jliss at speakeasy.org
Tue Feb 20 14:27:47 EST 2001

I am a non-scientist writing a book and would like to hear some basic
opinions about the possibility of genetically extended life.  If a way
could be found to retard the decay of telomeres (these are the ends of
molecular chains the decay of which causes them to unravel?), then
assume that a human lifetime, barring of course major illness and close
encounters with Mack trucks, could be extended to about two hundred
years.  Many folks stuck in a previous medical paradigm complain that
the notion is unattractive because one would live the last 120 years
aged and infirm.  Of course this is ridiculous because I assume the
entire aging process would be extended, so that 100 years old would be a
healthy middle age.

My question is: under this scenario, how would puberty be affected?
Would one grow to adulthood more slowly?   Would the transformational
puberty years be extended?  Or do you think the body has a mission to
grow to maturity as quickly as possible without regard to total lifespan
-- i.e. even the pre-puberty childhood growth would remain roughly the

I would appreciate your speculations or your direction to a discussion
on this subject.  thanks very much.

Jeff Liss
San Francisco


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