TED Scientist Discovers Secret to Longer Life

Age-defying worms could hold key to longevity in humans.
2:36 | 11/17/11

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Transcript for TED Scientist Discovers Secret to Longer Life
A new number tonight here Americans living to ninety or older tripling in the last two decades but it turns out we're still way behind turtles fish even worms. It's one of the many big discoveries and -- at the renowned technology entertainment and Design Conference better known as Ted. Tonight we join forces every month Ted and -- will bring you amazing thinkers changing how we see the world tonight changing the way we define a long life. Here's ABC's Jay -- -- No doubt The Rolling Stones weren't thinking about -- when -- laments the perils of long -- But for this little critter getting old really is a drag -- fast. Elderly and wrinkled at ten days dead at two weeks and but at her lab at the University of California doctor Cynthia Kent has found the little round war may hold the key to an ancient quest. -- looking in nature sit at different kinds of animals can have really different -- stands. -- Koi fish for instance can live to be 250 years old. A lot of hurdles god bless them are still teenagers at eight so -- to tell us that summer and his team somewhere in the DNA our genes for aging and in fact. Doctor canyons pinpointed a combination of rare genes that seem to counter the effects of aging significantly those unusual humans who lived to a hundred and beyond. Are more likely than the rest of us to carry these genes. Under normal circumstances the old grim reaper inside each of us is a sort of speed demon obsessed with the finish line death. But doctor -- -- suggesting that these slowed down way down to a crawl. -- brings us back to the round. The latest. Here's a normal -- -- -- just one gene called staff to doctor Kenyon team have kept the little square immersed squirm his way past normal lifespan. In human years this round worm is about ninety's but looks and acts like a thirty Euro is not -- nursing home. With -- But do we really want to live so long yes this case -- if we can live well. And the leaves you boosting drugs based on work from this lab could be less than fifteen years away. And just in case you wondered the -- old round worms are still -- -- at 84 days. Human years acts like 480. Years old. My mortgage would be pretty -- and let your tire of the really big. Jay -- ABC news San Francisco.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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