Not too long ago I saw a preview for the new Justin Timberlake movie, In Time, and it reminded me of an article I read in Scientific American about Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn and her research into telomeres and their relationship to aging.
Now, I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t comment on any aspect of it, but I found the interview with Elizabeth Blackburn to be a fascinating look into possibilities. Not only are there the immediately exciting ideas like slowing down aging or reducing the risk of many diseases we all face in old age, there were presented ideas more similar to those the movie In Time uses such as knowing when you will die. Although the reality of it would be much more of an approximation than the movie’s fictional arm clock.
In the interview, Blackburn warns the research is more along the lines of determining predisposition to live longer, rather than actual prediction, but I still find this a very exciting idea to think about turning into fiction!
Is this yet another thing insurance companies will hold over our heads? Perhaps people will not be groomed for long term careers if they are predisposed to die younger. Why waste college education on someone who will likely die by age 35? Can this research eventually lead to prolonging life, and if so, will that knowledge be shared or available to everyone, or just those rich enough to make sure they stay in power?