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Cell dating using carbon-14

Radioactive fallout from nuclear tests is used as a measuring stick

Adaptation: Gilat Simon

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If intelligence depended on age, brain cells would be among the smartest cells in the body: researchers used a carbon-14 dating method on DNA to confirm the age of brain cells and determine which cells have the longest lives.
This is a new application of the carbon-14 dating method, which has traditionally been used to date archaeological and paleontological finds to date the age of fossils.
Carbon dating examines the relationship between radioactive carbon, which is naturally present at low levels in the atmosphere and in food, and normal carbon. The ratio between the radioactive and normal carbon testifies to the age of production. This is because as long as the organism lives, feeds and breathes, the ratio between normal and radioactive carbon does not change, and will be equal to the ratio existing in the environment, but when the organism dies, the ratio changes because the radioactive carbon, carbon-14, decays.
The decay of carbon-14 is slow, so a given amount of carbon-14 is halved in 6,000 years. Hence to follow a subtle change in the ratio between the normal and radioactive carbon over several years seems impossible.
But Johns Friesen of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, claims that this can be done by using the radioactive signal left after the nuclear tests, during which high levels of carbon-14 were emitted into the air during the Cold War.

war babies
By the time there was a call to stop above-ground nuclear testing in 1963, the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere had doubled compared to the natural background levels of this substance, Friesen says. Since testing stopped, carbon-14 levels have halved every 11 years. If you take this into account, you can see visible changes in the levels of carbon-14 in the DNA of the last decades.
"Most of the molecules of the cell will change at any time. However, DNA is a molecule that does not replace its carbon atoms after cell division, so it serves as a time bubble for carbon," says Friesen.
Other approaches have tried to estimate cell age in the past, and have also included observations of the length of the DNA "caps" known as telomeres. However, we know too little about telomeres for the information about their length to help us estimate the age of the cell. "It is possible that shortened telomeres mean that the age of the cell is longer or shorter, but we do not know this for sure as we do not have an appropriate standard" says Frisen.

old eyes
Friesen and his group examined tissue samples from more than ten deceased people, some of whom were born after the mid-14s. They measured among these subjects the levels of carbon-XNUMX in their DNA, and thus were able to accurately identify the date of birth of these cells within an accuracy range of two years.
They found that all the samples taken from the visual cortex, the area of ​​the brain responsible for visual processing, were the same age as the subject. This finding supports the idea that these cells do not undergo regeneration. "The reason why these cells live such a long life is probably that they have to be tuned and neurally connected in a very stable way" speculates Friesen.
"This can help us answer many questions about cells in our bodies. How flexible or rigid is the brain at the cellular level" says Jeffrey McCleese from Harvard University.
Other brain cells live for a shorter period of time, the research group reports in the important journal Cell. In an average thirty-year-old person, his digestive system cells are about ten years old, while the skeletal cells are slightly older. Cells that suffer from severe physical stress, such as red blood cells, live only a few months.
The research group believes that cell dating using the carbon-14 method will shed light on the role of cell death in various cognitive syndromes. Previous studies on the subject suggest that a lack of proper regeneration of various brain cells can cause depression and possibly other symptoms.

For an article on the Nature News website
The brain savant

One response

  1. I wanted to share with you an idea I had. Write

    "By the word of God the heavens were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their host." - Psalm XNUMX:XNUMX

    There was already someone who referred to the aforementioned Mimra and said: "Indeed, in every creature His (God's) speech flows in his veins." And this is nothing but a parable.

    And when I looked at his words, I realized the magnitude of their meaning. And this is the reason, sometimes the scientists estimate the age of the world by using radioactive dating - that is, carbon-14, and say that the age of the world is billions of years when in fact the world is only 5,771 years old (5,771 to the creation). It is a known fact that everything is made up of atoms. According to the above explanation, the atoms that give form to all creatures existed with God long before their existence, until they reached their current form. And this is the reason why the world seems to be ancient even though the world has only existed for XNUMX years.

    This is how it seems in my humble opinion and there is no contradiction between science and Judaism.

    And if they ask why the difference between the age of the world and the rest of creation, it is simple. All other civilizations have regenerated, while the world stands as it was at the time of its creation.

    From me, David ben Avraham

    PS - I would love to receive your response on this matter, if at all it makes sense to you.

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