Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging

Date:
April 19, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay aging provide exceptionally good health. Scientists in Sweden have shown how colony-forming ascidians (or sea squirts) can activate the enzyme telomerase, which protects DNA. This enzyme is more active also in humans who attain an advanced age.

Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay aging provide exceptionally good health. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg have shown how colony-forming ascidians (or sea squirts) can activate the enzyme telomerase, which protects DNA. This enzyme is more active also in humans who attain an advanced age.

"Animals that clone themselves, in which part of an individual's body is passes on to the next generations, have particularly interesting conditions related to remaining in good health to persist. This makes it useful to study these animals in order to understand mechanisms of aging in humans," says Helen Nilsson Sköld of the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg.

There are enormous differences in the lengths of life of Earth's species. Some animals and plants that reproduce asexually can in principle achieve essentially eternal life; there are examples of deep-sea corals that are tens of thousands of years old. Helen Nilsson Sköld has decided to study sea squirts and starfish, which are species whose genes resemble closely those of humans.

"My research has shown that sea squirts rejuvenate themselves by activating the enzyme telomerase, and in this way extending their chromosomes and protecting their DNA. They also have a special ability to discard 'junk' from their cells. Older parts of the animal are quite simply broken down, and are then partially recycled when new and healthy parts grow out from the adult bodies."

Some species of starfish reproduce asexually by tearing apart their bodies, while others reproduce sexually only. This makes them particularly interesting animals to study. Both types of starfish can reconstruct lost body parts, but the species that reproduce asexually have considerably better health.

However, one consequence of asexual reproduction is that the species as a whole will have a very low genetic variation. This means that they will be particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the subsequent new types of changes in the environment. There is a high risk that these animals and plants will loose out -- and then we will loose important knowledge about the riddle of aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Helen Nilsson Sköld, Matthias Obst. Potential for clonal animals in longevity and ageing studies. Biogerontology, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10522-011-9333-8

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419082650.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, April 19). Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419082650.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419082650.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins