Study suggests why some animals live longer

Mar 29, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new method to detect proteins associated with longevity, which helps further our understanding into why some animals live longer than others.

The team looked at the of more than 30 to identify proteins that evolve in connection with the longevity of a species. They found that a , important in responding to , evolves and mutates in a non-random way in species that are longer-lived, suggesting that it is changing for a specific purpose. They found a similar pattern in proteins associated with metabolism, cholesterol and pathways involved in the recycling of proteins.

Findings show that if certain proteins are being selected by evolution to change in long-lived mammals like humans and , then it is possible that these species have optimised pathways that repair molecular damage, compared to shorter-lived animals, such as mice.

The study, led by Dr. Joao Pedro Magalhaes and postgraduate student, Yang Li, is the first to show evolutionary patterns in biological repair systems in long-lived animals and could, in the future, be used to help develop anti-ageing interventions by identifying proteins in long-lived species that better respond to, for example, DNA damage. Proteins associated with the degradation of damaged proteins, a process that has been connected to ageing, were also linked with the evolution of longevity in .

Dr. Magalhaes, from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, said: “The genetic basis for longevity differences between species remains a major puzzle of biology. A mouse lives less than five years and yet humans can live to over 100 for example. If we can identify the proteins that allow some species to live longer than others we could use this knowledge to improve human health and slow the ageing process.

“We developed a method to detect proteins whose molecular evolution correlates with of a species. The proteins we detected changed in a particular pattern, suggesting that evolution of these proteins was not by accident, but rather by design to cope with the biological processes impacted by ageing, such as DNA damage. The results suggest that long-lived animals were able to optimise bodily repair which will help them fend off the ageing process.”

The research is published in the American Aging Association‘s journal, AGE.

Explore further: How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists sequence DNA of cancer-resistant rodent

Jul 05, 2011

Scientists at the University of Liverpool, in partnership with The Genome Analysis Centre, Norwich, have generated the first whole-genome sequencing data of the naked mole-rat, a rodent that is resistant to cancer and lives ...

Scientists develop resource to study animal aging

Feb 17, 2009

A database detailing the life history of more than 4,000 animal species has been developed by scientists at the University of Liverpool for study in areas such as ageing, evolution and conservation.

Why women live longer than men

Nov 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- On average, women live five or six years longer than men. There are six 85-year-old women to four men of the same age, and by the age of 100 the ratio is greater than two to one. Many hypotheses have been ...

The body's power stations can affect aging

May 10, 2011

Mitochondria are the body's energy producers, the power stations inside our cells. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now identified a group of mitochondrial proteins, the absence of ...

Living fast but dying older is possible -- if you're a sheep

Feb 15, 2011

According to Dr Annette Baudisch of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, current methods of comparing patterns of ageing are limited because they confound two different elements of ageing ...

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

18 hours ago

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.