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All living things are composed of cells. Cells have a predetermined lifespan; once a cell has outlived its usefulness, programmed cell death is triggered to ensure the overall health of the organism. However, cells may die prematurely, throwing this equilibrium out of balance, often causing disease or death of the organism.

In humans, programmed cell death is known as apoptosis. Premature cell death is symptomatic of many ischemic and inflammatory conditions. Cancerous cells behave in the opposite manner. One of the traits common to many cancers is the presence of cells that do not undergo apoptosis.

In plants, factors such as drought, temperature and disease can accelerate cell death, which is termed senescence. This leads to rotten fruit, smaller plants and wilted flowers, amongst other undesirable traits. Despite the different terminology, the processes and genes involved in cell death are virtually identical in plants and humans.

We have characterized an important suite of genes that regulate senescence and apoptosis, which are the basis of Senesco’s techology. Our research and development have shown that we can precisely target these genes for both Agricultural and Human Health applications. Our technology is based on the regulation of these existing genes, not the addition of foreign genes.

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