Wednesday, March 18, 2009

PLoS Genetics Article on Aging Processes in Human and Invertebrate Species

How can the world's aging populations best secure better health and economic prosperity this century? How about funding more important research like this. Here is the "author summary" from the latest issue of PLoS Genetics:

Studies of longevity in model organisms such as baker's yeast, roundworm, and fruit fly have clearly demonstrated that a diverse array of genetic mutations can result in increased life span. In fact, large-scale genetic screens have identified hundreds of genes that when mutated, knocked down, or deleted will significantly enhance longevity in these organisms. Despite great progress in understanding genetic and genomic determinants of life span in model organisms, the general relevance of invertebrate longevity genes to human aging and longevity has yet to be fully established. In this study, we show that human homologs of invertebrate longevity genes change in their expression levels during aging in human tissue. We also show that human genes encoding proteins that interact with human longevity homolog proteins are also changed in expression during human aging. These observations taken together indicate that the broad patterns underlying genetic control of life span in invertebrates is highly relevant to human aging and longevity. We also present a collection of novel candidate genes and proteins that may influence human life span.

Aging research: where the action really is!