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Wingspan!

Author: admin

Could the secret of longevity really lie in the most humble of species? Well, according to an international team working under the European Union’s AGELESS project headed by researchers at University College Dublin, the study of DNA repair genes in bats could hold the key to the mysteries of ageing. Bats are the longest-lived species relative to their body size among mammals—they live an average of 37 years, the human equivalent of 234 years. When they studied the telomeres (the protective caps at the end of chromosomes) of four different species of wild bats using their wing samples, they found that one of the species, Myotis myotis, displayed no relationship between telomere length and age. They also identified 21 genes (among 225) that could play a role in preventing telomere shortening. “When our telomeres get too short, our cells become old, stop replicating, and this drives our ageing process,” research director Emma Teeling tells media. “Potentially, bats may have evolved a unique process to lengthen their chromosomes without inducing cancer. These results will help us design better intervention methods to slow down the ageing process and ultimately extend human health spans.” The study was published in journal Science Advances.

Photo: iStock
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
June 2018