Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neutral evolution shapes lifespan and ageing

04.07.2019

The evolution of short lifespan in African killifish is explained by the lack of strong selection against deleterious mutations.

Different African killifish species vary extensively in their lifespans - from just a few months to several years. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne investigated how different lifespans have evolved in nature and discovered a fundamental mechanism by which detrimental mutations accumulate in the genome causing fish to age fast and become short-lived. In humans, mutations accumulate mainly in the genes that are active in old age.


The African Killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) lives only a few months.

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing


Max Planck Researcher Dario Riccardo Valenzano (left) and Rongfen Cui.

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

Species in nature vastly differ in lifespan, from a few hours in adult mayflies to centuries in whales. Natural selection should favour long-lifespan, because in principle a longer life leads to more offspring and higher chance to reproduce and transmit genes to the next generation.

But then why do short-lived species evolve? To address this question, Rongfeng Cui from Dario Valenzano’s group at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, investigated the African killifish family.

“African killifishes live in a wide range of habitats, from rainforests to arid savanna woodlands. Based on the water availability in the environment, they live long or short. This great diversification constitutes a natural experiment of different lifespan strategies, making killifish a unique system for studying life history evolution”, explains Dario Riccardo Valenzano, senior author of this publication.

Expanded genome with detrimental mutations

The researchers sequenced and analysed the genome of 45 African killifish species and compared the genome of short- and long-lived species. They found that short-lived species have an expanded genome, full of highly redundant DNA sequences between and within genes.

Additionally, the genome of the short-lived fish accumulates detrimental mutations. Detrimental mutations occur throughout the genome, including in genes coding for central processes in the fishes, such as DNA repair, metabolism control, mitochondrial function and in other known ageing genes.

“These fishes do not seem to be short-lived because being short-lived is good for them or because it is an adaption to their environment. In fact, in longer rainy seasons they could in principle live longer and keep reproducing”, says Valenzano.

“Rather, natural selection simply does not work as efficiently for genes important in late life. It doesn’t matter if a mutation makes you a little bit sick when you are old, because you have reproduced already and transmitted that mutation to your offspring. We found that this basic principle explains the expanded genome and the accumulation of detrimental mutations in short-lived killifish.”

Human genomes

In the human genome the researchers could observe that genes which accumulate detrimental mutations are highly associated with ageing. “We found that the mutation burden of a gene goes hand-in-hand with when it is expressed. In other words, gene expressed in late life are more likely to carry detrimental gene variants”, explains Valenzano.

The researchers found many genes that met this criterion but were not known to be related to the aging process yet. These genes could be interesting for ageing research in future.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dario Riccardo Valenzano, dario.valenzano@age.mpg.de

Originalpublikation:

Rongfeng Cui, Tania Medeiros, David Willemsen, Leonardo N. M. Iasi, Glen E. Collier, Martin Graef, Martin Reichard, Dario Riccardo Valenzano
Relaxed Selection Limits Lifespan by Increasing Mutation Load.
Cell, June 21st 2019
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.06.004

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.age.mpg.de
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=qzfeIJ2j-sc

Dr. Maren Berghoff | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Research on the sustainable conversion of lignin into valuable chemical compounds is attracting further funding
03.07.2019 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht The secret of mushroom colors
02.07.2019 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts: Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled

An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.

Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...

Im Focus: The secret of mushroom colors

Mushrooms: Darker fruiting bodies in cold climates

The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...

Im Focus: First results of the new Alphatrap experiment

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg report the first result of the new Alphatrap experiment. They measured the bound-electron g-factor of highly charged (boron-like) argon ions with unprecedented precision of 9 digits. In comparison with a new highly accurate quantum electrodynamic calculation they found an excellent agreement on a level of 7 digits. This paves the way for sensitive tests of QED in strong fields like precision measurements of the fine structure constant α as well as the detection of possible signatures of new physics. [Physical Review Letters, 27 June 2019]

Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields and is the most precisely tested physical theory. It...

Im Focus: Experimental physicists redefine ultrafast, coherent magnetism

For the first time ever, experimental physicists have been able to influence the magnetic moment of materials in sync with their electronic properties. The coupled optical and magnetic excitation within one femtosecond corresponds to an acceleration by a factor of 200 and is the fastest magnetic phenomenon that has ever been observed.

Electronic properties of materials can be directly influenced via light absorption in under a femtosecond (10-15 seconds), which is regarded as the limit of...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Neutral evolution shapes lifespan and ageing

04.07.2019 | Life Sciences

Making artificial intelligence explainable

03.07.2019 | Information Technology

Research on the sustainable conversion of lignin into valuable chemical compounds is attracting further funding

03.07.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>