Unexpected ‘longevity genes’ found in sea bass DNA

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists analyzed the genomes of fish living up to 100 years or more and found that their longevity may be associated with the peculiarities of the metabolism of certain plant pigments.

Among more than a hundred species of sea bass of the genus Sebastes, there are fish whose life expectancy is from ten to more than 200 years.

This makes them convenient targets for searching for genetic and metabolic traits associated with longevity.

Evolutionary differences between different types of sea bass have accumulated for about eight million years. As a result, some of them have acquired the ability to live as long as few other animals on Earth.

To find out what this longevity is connected with, Peter Sudmant (Peter Sudmant) and his colleagues conducted a partial sequencing of the genomes of 23 species of Sebastes, whose lifespan varies from 23 to 108 years.

The scientists then compared the DNA segments covered by the sequencing.

The work showed that long-lived species are characterized by special adaptations of the network of genes associated with insulin metabolism. Their role in increasing life expectancy has been demonstrated before.

In addition, scientists have found similar changes in the metabolic pathways of flavonoids.

These substances are plant pigments that are present in the diet of fish (and humans) in fairly small amounts. In particular, flavonoids are rich in green tea and onions, citrus peel and grape skins.

Based on the data obtained, Sadmant and his co-authors searched open databases of human genomes.

Thus, it was possible to confirm that the individual characteristics of similar genes associated with the metabolism of insulin and flavonoids do indeed correlate with life expectancy in humans.

Recall that earlier researchers conducted such work with centenarians among bats and showed the important role played in this by genes that “repair” cells and DNA.

Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, but their role in the processes leading to longevity has not yet been established. Therefore, scientists cannot yet say for sure what exactly it is connected with.

Perhaps flavonoids affect the work of steroid hormones, which, in turn, regulate a lot of processes in the body, including those associated with growth and maturation.

To test this hypothesis, California biologists plan to conduct experiments with much more popular model organisms – zebrafish.

By modifying their genes involved in the metabolism of insulin and flavonoids, it will be possible to find out how and in what way they will affect the physiology of the body and life expectancy.

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