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The eternal life of the future won’t have much to do with computers or “downloadable consciousness.” That’s just a clever set of exaggerations and distortions designed to sell books, and Google. The reality of artificial life extension will come from biotechnology, specifically stem cells, the cells in the body that haven’t yet become specialized and, thus, can become any number of different things with different physiological functions, like fighting disease—or aging. A study out today in an early edition of the journal Science essentially breaks this future wide open, describing a protein molecule that reverses aging effects at the genetic level in the hearts, brains, and skeletal muscles of mice. The effect is dramatic and, in a way, rather simple.

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