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Web of discovery

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Creepiness aside, their webs may actually help unravel some of the mysteries of ageing. As website reports, scientists at Allahabad University are using spiders as a model to see how ageing affects behaviour in organisms, including humans. As spiders grow older, the webs they weave get progressively less geometric, more erratic and full of holes. According to the research team, led by Prof S I Rizvi, the protein content in spider web silk—a tough and elastic semicrystalline material—decreases with age and is also affected by environmental factors as well as the diet of the spider. “The universality of degenerative changes that occur in spiders during ageing and its similarity with human ageing suggests that ageing is an evolutionary phenomenon,” he tells the site. “However, the effect of diet is also a contributing factor that cannot be overlooked. A clear understanding of events during ageing may help scientists devise an effective anti-ageing strategy.”

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
September 2017