Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) has apparently decided to take one of its consultants on full time for Project Calico, a mysterious venture aimed at extending the average life span of humans. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the search giant has hired Cynthia Kenyon away from the University of California, San Francisco. However, she will reportedly remain at the university with the title of emeritus professor.
Kenyon is well-known
Kenyon has apparently been consulting with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) on the project since November on a part time basis. Kenyon is known for her work on aging genetics. Google hasn’t said much about Project Calico since it began in September, other so say that they want to battle diseases related to age and just slow down the aging process in general.
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Kenyon has been a pioneer in the industry since the 1990s, and she fits in well with the other well-known scientists who are on the team.
What Google might be trying to do
The San Francisco Chronicle was able to confirm the report with the university, and the newspaper draws some conclusions from Kenyon’s background to take a guess at what Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) may be trying to do. She has been focusing her studies on aging since the 1980s.
However, the field is extremely difficult, and she apparently didn’t find many people who shared her interest until 1993. That’s when she and her team found that if they partially disabled the daf-2 gene, they could double the life span of roundworms. After that finding, they also that they could make mice and fruit flies live longer by mutating the same gene. In addition, researchers have discovered that people who live to be 100 years old are more likely to have mutations in that same gene.
The work Kenyon has already done suggests that drugs which target the gene might be able to treat diseases associated with aging, like certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.