azurne (azurne) wrote in little_details,

Shortened Telomeres & Rapid Aging

Hello all, this is my first post in this community~

I've put everything under a cut because of length. I tend to be long-winded; sorry. ^-^;

Setting: This is a fanfic for a sci-fi anime, and it takes place in a highly technologically advanced future where people can modify their genes before birth (such as eye color, talents, enhanced intelligence and reflexes). The people with modified genes are called 'coordinators', and are superior to 'natural' (normal) human beings who are unmodified.

The backstory of my main character is that he is a clone of an arrogant politician. He was born presumably from an 'artificial womb,' which was supposed to have eliminated all the factors that a mother's body would have induced during gestation. (In this era, not all Coordinators turn out the way their parents wanted, such as a wrong eye color, because the mother's body naturally plays a part in the development of the baby.) A scientist in this anime wanted to eliminate the variable of the mother's body altogether so that they could control every aspect of the baby that would be born out of it.

Well, part of the deal was that this politician wanted his clone to be able to catch up to his real son in age, in order to replace him. So in exchange for cloning this politician and accelerating the clone's age, the politician would help fund the artificial womb project to keep it going. The scientist agreed even though cloning was illegal.

They cloned him and shortened his telomeres, allowing the boy to catch up to the disinherited son's age. However, once the boy got to a certain age they attempted to stop the acceleration so he can age normally. Lo and behold, they find they can't, and the clone is forced to take drugs to stabilize his aging. In the anime, his symptoms are portrayed as very seizure-like and extremely painful. He is extremely tired after one of these episodes, though whether it's from the seizure or the drugs he takes to get rid of the pain I haven't a clue.

Some facts about their age:

At the start of the anime the son is 28, and the clone is "28"; though he's really 25 years old, his body is just aged to what we'd normally see in a 28 year old. So while biologically they are both the same 'age', the clone has only been living for 25 years.

I have multiple questions, though I'll start with the simple --

What are the symptoms and effects of accelerated aging? Would there be any theoretical effects that persisted in childhood, such as less energy, a deficient immune system, or high fever during an episode? Things in general that would tip a kid off 'hey this isn't normal'.

Things that the character could do to curb this aging process and extend his life would help me a whole lot too. In the anime he's extremely athletic - and I mean athletic as in he's got six-pack abs and looks like he goes to the gym every day. I can't tell if it was a slight nod to fanservice or if exercising that much really helped his condition. A diet that he'd generally follow would be most helpful too, like if I opened up his fridge what would I find? (This fiction is like his autobiography, so tiny details like this would help me a lot.)

Also, what would be in the drugs that he takes? I know next to nothing about biology so I'm really left in the dark here.

Sites and terms searched -

I tried searching Google, Wikipedia and a ton of medical journals about rapid aging, telomeres, HGH, Progeria, and just about anything under the sun that I thought was related. Seeing as this was a science fiction show, I though I might be able to get away with borrowing some symptoms from, say, Progeria, but unfortunately that doesn't fit him at all. He seems to be able to function normally, or at least to the point where others perceive him as 'normal'. Behind the scenes though he acts like a train wreck going out of control. Thoughts?
Tags: ~medicine: illnesses (misc), ~medicine: illnesses to order, ~science: biology: genetics

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