Roundworm life extension.
Surprise! Sex and death are connected. I09 has picked up a report from Nature based on Stanford University research conducted on the life extension of roundworms. Scientists have figured out how to make the worms live 30 per cent longer through genetic drug therapy, namely, by blocking the activity of certain genes. But the therapy only works if the worms are still fertile, confirming that life extension is tied to the reproductive system. For the i09 report go here for the original Nature report, go here. For the Stanford announcement, go here, which lets you read a bit about the research without paying for the article if you don't have subscription access to Nature.
Anne Brunet, PhD., Assistant Professor of Genetics, commented on the nature of aging in relation to this research: "Aging is a very plastic process,” said Brunet, who cautioned that it’s possible that Ash-2 also works elsewhere in the worm. “This tagging doesn’t affect reproduction directly, but it somehow talks to the rest of the body to affect the whole organism.” Perhaps, they speculate, the genes activated by the loss of Ash-2 work together with other factors produced by mature eggs to lengthen the animal’s life. "It makes a sort of sense that the reproductive system would be involved in life span, since that is really the only ‘immortal’ part of an organism,” said Brunet. “In that context, the body is just the mortal envelope."