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Eternal Youth (Terra Futura)

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To achieve eternal youth is not impossible. In fact, by the late 21st century, it was possible. Aging became curable. By 2100, it was rare to person who appeared to be over the age of 30.

(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the words from the expressive augmentation page of Terra Futura to save time.)

Background

Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a molecule which holds the genetic information of a living organism. Frederich Mischer discovered it in 1869. However, it was not until 1953 that the double helix was discovered. The men who discovered the double helix were James Watson and Francis Crick. When DNA was discovered, few ever thought it could be used for anything. In 1984, however, Sir Alec Jeffries used DNA to prove paternity. In 1988, DNA evidence was used to convict Colin Pitchfork of the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. In 1993, the Human Genome Project was started. It was intended to decode the entire human genome using computers. The project succeeded by 2001. It was thought that genetic engineering would soon take off. This was helped by a DNA computer.

In 1994, just as the Human Genome Project was starting, scientist Leonard Adelman of the University of Southern California demonstrated a successful DNA computer. Much of the success that followed came from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The scientists there developed a successful DNA computer in 2002. They incorporated a module that could cure cancer in 2004. After that, the DNA computer was commercialized. DNA computers never found there way into consumer products. However, DNA computers were used to better diagnose conditions. This made for better medicine. This also helped in improving the process of genetic engineering, thus allowing genetic disorders to be cured without compromising the good parts of the genes that caused them. It was a revolution in biotechnology.

The cost of the Human Genome Project had cost $3 billion. It was predicted that by 2020 the cost would go down far enough for everyone to have their personal genome on a CD. While working at Stanford, scientist Stephen Quake perfecting whole genome sequencing. The cost went down as far as $1,000 by 2015. By that point, a whole lot of people had their genomes sequenced. Laws had been passed to ban genetic discrimination. By 2020, the cost had gone down to $100. By then, almost everyone had their genomes sequenced. Already, many people were taking medicines that were targeting specific genes. Lifespans increased as a result. Soon, genetic disorders would be cured.

In the 2020s, nanotechnology started being used to alter a person's genetic code to eliminate genetic disorders. Single-gene disorders were the first to go. The first of these to go was sickle cell anemia which was found mostly in African-Americans. There was a problem. The gene that caused sickle cell anemia also increased a person's immunity to malaria. The solution, which required nanotechnology, was to modify the part of the gene that caused the disease while keeping the beneficial part. Other genetic disorders that were eliminated included Tay-Sachs disease which was found mainly in Ashkenazi Jews and cystic fibrosis which was found mainly in Germanic peoples. The most difficult genetic disorders to cure were multiple-gene disorders like cancer. In fact, cancer was one of the most widely studied genetic disorders.

Scientists had been trying to cure cancer since 1971. There were few successes until the Human Genome Project revealed the genes for cancer. There were multiple solutions to target cancer. These included antiangiogenesis which was pioneered by Jewish physician Judah Folkman, nanoparticles that delivered cancer drugs such as bee venom to cancer cells pioneered by Sam Wickline, new drugs that targeted only cancer cells, new vaccines like the controversial Gardasil that targeted cancer-causing viruses such as HPV, and especially gene therapy. In 2005, the Cancer Genome Atlas was started to find all the exact genes known to cause cancer. One gene targeted was a gene that created a protein called p53 which protected. p53 could be damaged by carcinogens. In 2030, a scientist developed a genetic manipulation process that fixed p53 and also improved it, making p53 more resistant to carcinogens. In fact, by the 2030s, people were genetic engineering to improve a person's DNA as well. This would lead to supersoldiers.

In the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, the supersoldier serum that turns Steve Rogers into Captain America affects not only his muscles but also his cells. In the real world, scientists created supersoldiers through genetic manipulation. This was important during World War III. The United States first created genetically-modified clones as supersoldiers. Later, they modified non-clones genetically. This helped the United States win World War III. It also led to societal change. After World War III, some supersoldiers would become great leaders in the United States and the world. Humanity was also changing. People could now control their genes.

After World War III, many of the world's youth started opting for expressive genetic enhancements. Sex organs were common at first. Some people, mostly homosexuals, chose to become hermaphrodites (See below.). Soon, many subcultures began change themselves to resemble what they would normally dress up as. Wigs, tattoos, make-up, nail polish, face and body paint, hair dye, etc. became obsolete. This was aided by nanotechnology. Expressive augmentation was controversial. Some religious groups were opposed to what they saw as dehumanization. The government did not heed them. Even more controversial was the fact that some people were forced to change their appearances genetically to fit specific roles. Soon, the Earth Federation government passed a law declaring that all genetic modifications were legal as long as the recipient had consent. With the vast array of genetic modifications, by the late 21st century, humanity was now made of many different subspecies. A person could switch between different subspecies if he/she wanted to. In fact, during the late 21st century, people were staying young.

Description

Tech Level: 12

In the 2010s, the best attempts to successfully slow aging lasted two months. It turned out over the course of the 21st century that aging was caused by junk both inside and outside of cells, too few or too many cells being produced, chromosomal and mitochondrial mutations, and protein cross-links. By the late 21st century, it was possible to slow aging for twelve months. Religious groups debated the morality of the fact that aging could now be cured, but it was accepted. Part of this involved the incorporation of turtle genes that prevent organs from breaking down as a turtle. At first, there were many treatments. This made eternal youth expensive and a luxury of the rich. Enthusiasm for eternal youth would lead to the creation of a single treatment that cured all the causes of aging. This would drive down the cost. Even with people having children at age 14 and staying young, it was not until 2100 that it was also possible to reverse aging. People over 100 were now indistinguishable from people ages 20-30. By 2160, the world's first bicentenarian was recorded to exist.

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