And they say Whale Oil is bad for you?

Want to reverse the ageing process?

It seems that you may need a daily dose of whale oil…or some such product.

Bowhead whales are most likely the longest-living mammals on the planet. There’s evidence – some of it in the form of Victorian-era harpoons embedded in blubber – that they can live as long as 200 years. And there are humans who’d like to get a little slice of that longevity for themselves.

This week, some of them took the first step to stealing the bowhead whale’s secrets: they sequenced its genome. Their results  have now been published  in biomedical research journal Cell.

“I think that having the genome sequence of the bowhead whale will allow researchers to study basic molecular processes and identify maintenance mechanisms that help preserve life, avoid entropy and repair molecular damage,” said corresponding author Joao Pedro de Magalhaes of the University of Liverpool.  

Most research experiments try to model human decay and disease in other animals to learn how to cure it, Magalhaes said. But he hopes he can find organisms that are resistant to certain diseases – and to some extent, perhaps even aging itself – and use those tools to better human health.

Of particular interest is the whales’ resistance to cancer. The species can weigh as much as 100 tons, and has thousands of times more cells than a human. So statistically, it would make sense for the whales to exhibit more instances of cancer. But examination hasn’t found this to be so.

Magalhaes and his colleagues did find differences between bowhead whales and minke whales (close relatives who only live about 50 years) in genes related to cell cycle, DNA repair, cancer and aging. He believes that bowhead whales may be better at repairing DNA damage, which would keep them alive longer and protect them from diseases like cancer.

I ain’t going anywhere any time soon. Snigger.


– Fairfax


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  • Bart67

    Wouldn’t this be ironic if it is confirmed by Japanese Scientific Whaling?

  • colin herbertson

    I’m no doctor but i notice that generally the bigger the mammal is the slower its metabollic rate and the longer its life span, elephants live 70=80 years, humans with out the benefits of medical science and a good diet might mae it to 50,a mouse only lives a year or two.What ever it is that gets you in the end a root cause often is a worn out, less efficient heart.

    • ex-JAFA

      Metabolic rate certainly seems to be the defining factor, and is often (but not always – think tuataras and tortoises) linked to size. It seems that hearts are good for X million beats; the faster they’re used up, the sooner the critter dies.

    • caochladh

      I wish large dogs fell into that category, when the smaller (ankle biter) dogs live much longer.

  • Saggy

    Hate to be the one to mention this but apparently cycling has the same effect.

    • johcar

      Unless you get collected by a “but-I-didn’t-see-him” motorist…

  • Sorry not for me 200 years.
    I am going potty listening to 60 years of left wing crap as it is. By 200 I would have to kill some of them.