“All children, except one, grow up.”
Fairyology Episode 2
Are you ready for some more silly science! I know I am! Today we turn our attention to the story of Peter Pan. Don’t know who that is? Well firstly where have you been! Nevertheless I will give a quick run down. Peter is a magical boy who lives in Never Land. An island you can only get to be flying towards the second star on the right and straight on til morning. As well as being able to fly Peter also never ages. Traditionally he is dressed in green and fights pirates (most famously captain hook), faces mermaids and has a group of friends called the Lost Boys (1).
Although my question today is what could stop Peter Pan from never growing up? Is there something in the world of science to explain what on Never Land could stop this from happening.
I think to fully understand this we must first look at why ageing happens in the first place. There are two theories behind this, first is genetics. This theory suggests that we have a gene or a collection of genes that tells us how long we are supposed to live. The other theory says that we can effectively keep going until our body and/or our DNA becomes to heavily damaged to keep going (2). As to which one is correct well it’s probably a combination of the two.
So how did Peter Pan avoid ageing altogether; well I’ve come up with three theories as to how Peter could have stopped growing up. *I will repeat, this is not meant to be taken seriously just a bit of silly science and some creative juices!*
Theory 1: Genetic Engineering
As previously discussed, there is a potential link between our genes and how long we’re meant to live. So what if there was a way to turn that gene off or manipulate it in some way, potentially stopping the process of ageing. This process is actually called genetic regulation and is a normal part of development (3) but we’re talking about a more extreme version. If Peters DNA was manipulated that could potentially stop his ageing.
Theory 2: Hormone Replacements
There are hormones for quite literally everything. They regulate alot of the body’s normal processes. Human Growth hormone (hGH) is important for normal growth and development, as well as for maintaining tissues and organs. It is made by the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain. Although there is no conclusive evidence that hGH can prevent aging or halt age-related physical decline, some clinics market hGH for that purpose, and some people spend a great deal of money on such supplements (4). What if in some magical pool in never land, there is just a heck of alot of hGH, perhaps Peter Pan could prevent his ageing that way.
Theory 3: Magic!
Obviously, it could just be the magic of Never land!
Who knows maybe one of those theories is true. One thing I know definitely to be true is that all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust! I hope you’ve really enjoyed this episode, please do let me know which theory you enjoyed the most in the comments, and give this blog a share if you did enjoy it!
(1) = http://www.literatureproject.com/peter-pan/peter-pan_1.htm
(2) = http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news10
(3) = https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/howgeneswork/geneonoff
(4) = https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/can-we-prevent-aging