Age-gene cracked: The secret of the eternally young naked mole
As the Leibniz Institute for Age Research in Jena reported, researchers have found new genes for mammalian longevity.
Depending on the degree of kinship, mammals share 80 to 90 percent of their genetic make-up. However, they often differ significantly in their lifespan. For example, mice live on average only three years. Various types of gauze, on the other hand – also rodents and only just under twice as large as mice – manage to live for more than 20 years.
250 genes for ageing
Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Age Research – Fritz Lipmann Institute in Jena, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin and the Department of General Zoology at the University of Duisburg-Essen have compared 17 different rodent species to find out why they age so differently. They discovered 250 genes that are abundant in both long-lived and short-lived species. In short-lived animals such as mice, these genes are overactive and contribute to a much faster development. Where, on the other hand, in naked or Naked Molerat, for example, these genes are less active.
Mullets are late bloomers
Dr. Philip Dammann of the University Hospital Essen provided the genetic material from Naked Grey Molerat for the Jena study. He explains: “In a mouse, it takes only a few weeks until it is fully sexually mature. In gray matter, at least one to two years.”
The researchers believe that it is not the way the animals live that is responsible for their lifespan and health, but their development. Dr. Arne Sahm of the Leibniz Institute for Age Research and head of the study, describes this as an evolutionary conflict of goals.
Organisms that grow rapidly and have evolutionary advantages in their early life phase pay a price. They age faster.
Dr. Arne Sahm
Conversely, this means that animals like mullets, which grow and develop more slowly, age more slowly. The growth genes are therefore presumably the same genes that keep the ageing process going.
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In addition, the researchers link these genes to the development of age-related diseases. So could ageing simply be stopped by switching off these genes? Is that the key to a long, healthy life?
That would be an interesting experiment, something that could now be drawn from this study as a follow-up experiment.
Dr. Arne Sahm
Because our genetic material is so similar to that of rodents, conclusions could indeed be drawn about humans. However, Dr. Karol Szafranski from the Leibniz Institute for Age Research emphasizes that the study is basic research. He believes that it could help in the development of drugs for age-associated diseases. So there is no stopping ageing in the near future, but Biotulin’s skin care products can prevent your skin from wrinkling and significantly reduce existing wrinkles on your face. However, the development of drugs against cancer, Alzheimer’s or diabetes may have taken the study a big step forward.