Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of ageing

19.04.2011
Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay ageing 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 ageing 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 the 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 ageing.

Contact:
Helen Nilsson Sköld, Department of Marine Ecology, Kristineberg, at the University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)523 185 29
helen.skold@marecol.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.springerlink.com/content/t32t37563700834q/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>