The team used a microscopic worm, Caenorhabditis elegans (C.elegans), as they share many of the genes as humans, including longevity genes.
They found that a group of proteins called Cathepsin B proteases "downregulate", or lead to lower-quality oocytes (unfertilised eggs), as one ages.
In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, when the team administered the Cathepsin B inhibitor halfway through the worms' reproductive period, they found that even a late administration of the drug could extend the worms' egg quality.
Another experiment that knocked out the cathepsin B genes entirely succeeded in extending worms' fertility by about 10 per cent.
If applied to humans, Nicole Templeman from the varsity said, "It could be a three- to six-year extension of your reproductive period".
Reproductive decline is a hallmark of ageing, but despite its prevalence, interventions to slow the loss of reproductive capacity are lacking, researchers said.
However, the cathepsin B inhibitor is nowhere near ready for testing in humans, Murphy said, yet it could one day do something mid-reproduction to improve the rest of reproduction.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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