Their study, published online this month in Molecular Genetics and Genomics, casts doubt on the old notion of a tradeoff between reproduction and longevity.
Popular wisdom and scientific opinion have held that “the more you reproduce the shorter you’re going to live,” said senior author John Tower, associate professor of biological sciences at USC.
While that may be true in some cases, Tower added, recent research has hinted at exceptions to the rule.
The latest study is a striking example.
Tower and graduate student Yishi Li screened 8,000 genes in search of ones that could make older flies lay more eggs. They found two.
When older female flies were altered to over-express either of these two genes, they lived 5 to 30 percent longer and produced more offspring.
Tower speculated that the genes are boosting activity of stem cells in the flies’ reproductive system. Stem cell activity declines with age, and reproduction in older flies could not happen without a return of stem cells to peak form.
“This would appear to be stimulating the stem cells to divide more in the old fly and therefore produce more offspring,” Tower said.
Next, Tower and Li plan to see if stem cells in other parts of the fly’s body also returned to their youthful prime.
If they did, over-expression of the two genes would seem to act as a fountain of youth for the entire organism.
The implications for mammals are not clear, Tower said, though one of the genes has a human equivalent that helps cells to grow and blood vessels to form.
But Tower’s method at least provides a proof of concept.
“It both makes females lay more eggs and live longer, so it really argues against any kind of obligatory tradeoff between reproduction and lifespan,” Tower said.
Research for this study was supported by the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Carl Marziali | Newswise Science News
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences