The Life of a Pharaoh

In the age of the Pharaoh’s, eternal life was much sought after. If you could not have it here on earth, it was believed that by performing rituals, the deceased Pharaoh would live on in the afterlife. He was therefore provided with every material need while being buried that could be required after that. Barring a few, most of us would be unable to afford such luxury. We might want to improve our biological functioning instead. In simple terms, this means extending or delaying the causes of aging. It is unlikely that you would agree to be the laboratory for tests to be conducted on experiments to achieve this. Scientists, therefore, rely on worms.

Research showed that by increasing or decreasing the levels of a family of proteins called Kruppel-like transcription factors or KLF’s we can increase or decrease the life of C. elegans a type of worm. The research showed that worms with increased levels of KLF’s showed a tendency to live longer and the opposite was right as well. KLF’s were playing the role of controlling autophagy. Autophagy is the process by which your body clears the debris, typically molecular byproducts, misfolded proteins and other dead cells from your body. Any organism that is unable to perform autophagy efficiently begins to age and die. Think of it like dust building up in your house. Eventually, the dust will take over your house, unless cleaned. Similarly, the debris in your body can build up to toxic levels and ultimately threaten your very survival. Increased levels of KLF’s were, therefore, able to elevate the ability of the worm to perform autophagy.

Now, given you are brilliant, you would argue that this was just a worm, and may not apply to humans. Perish the thought; you share 99% of your gene pool with the humble church mouse.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.