Starfish that reproduce through cloning avoid ageing to a greater extent than those that propagate through sexual reproduction. This is shown by a new research study in which researchers from the University of Gothenburg participated. The study has recently been published in the highly respected journal Heredity.
In the study, researchers investigated the telomere lengths and population genetics of a starfish, Coscinasterias tenuispina. The telomeres are located at the ends of the chromosomes, and affect the lifespan and health of an individual.
The studied starfish exhibited both asexual and sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction, or cloning, involves the starfish dividing itself into two or more parts, after which the new parts regenerate.
The researchers wanted to find out whether the populations that clone themselves the most have better health and signs of delayed ageing in relation to the populations that carry out more sexual reproduction. Both Mediterranean and Atlantic populations were studied.
“Our results from the genetic markers show that the starfish are more inclined to clone themselves in the Mediterranean,” says Helen Nilsson Sköld from the University of Gothenburg’s Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences in Kristineberg. “In actual fact, there only appears to be a single clone off the Spanish Costa Brava. In the Atlantic, however, sexual reproduction is more common.”
Better health and a longer lifespan without sexual reproduction
There turned out to be a clear positive link between long telomeres and the level of clonality.
“We also noted that the telomeres were longer in the newly formed tissue than in the ‘old’ tissue in the same starfish,” adds Helen, who – together with Bethanie Carney Almrort – was one of the two researchers in the group from the University of Gothenburg.
“According to the researchers, this rejuvenation of the telomeres in connection with the formation of new tissue during cloning is probably one of possibly several explanations behind the particularly good health and long telomeres of clones.”
The principle behind the study, that clones avoid ageing by regulating telomeres, has also been previously studied by other researchers in flatworms.
“The strengths of our study are that we have confirmed these results in a completely different animal group, and that our data comes from wild populations,” she concludes.
The study was published in the May issue of Heredity, and was a collaboration between Swedish and Spanish researchers, including both biologists and medical researchers.
Link to the article: http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/hdy201543a.pdf
Helen Nilsson Sköld, The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, Kristineberg
The University of Gothenburg
Tel.: +46 (0)31 7869547, firstname.lastname@example.org
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy