J Med Ethics 31:273-277 doi:10.1136/jme.2004.009035
  • Genetics

The fable of the dragon tyrant

  1. N Bostrom
  1. Correspondence to:
 N Bostrom
 Department of Philosphy, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK;;
  • Accepted 29 April 2004


This paper recounts the tale of a most vicious dragon that ate thousands of people every day, and of the actions that the king, the people, and an assembly of dragonologists took with respect thereof.


  • i Calorie restriction (a diet low in calories but high in nutrients) extends maximal lifespan and delays the onset of age related illnesses in all species that have been tested. Preliminary results from an ongoing study on rhesus and squirrel monkeys show similar effects. It seems quite likely that calorie restriction would work for our species too. Few humans, however, would be willing to put themselves through a lifelong hunger/diet. Some researchers are searching for calorie restriction mimetics—compounds that elicit the desirable effects of lowered caloric intake without us having to go hungry.

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