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Shark tale

Author: admin

The DNA of the Greenland shark may well hold the key to the fountain of youth. With a lifespan of 390 years, this ‘elasmobranch’ fish (with a skeleton made of cartilage, rather than bone) is the longest living vertebrate on the planet. As Professor Kim Praebel of Arctic University, Norway, tells, “Together with colleagues in Denmark, Greenland, the US and China, we are currently sequencing the Greenland shark’s whole nuclear genome, which will help us discover why it not only lives longer than other shark species but other vertebrates.” The team has been taking small clips from the breast of these 16-ft vertebrates to map their entire mitochondrial DNA; the next phase involves working on DNA from the cell nucleus. They are hoping that a better understanding of the genetics of the shark can be eventually used to modify human genes to have similar longevity.

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