Research NewsNeuroscience

Worm Longevity Gene Cloned

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Science  15 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5328, pp. 897-898
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5328.897

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The tiny nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has a remarkable ability to extend its life-span by entering the so-called "dauer" phase, a state of suspended animation that can last for 2 months or more. Now, in work reported on page 942 of this week's Science, researchers have cloned one of the genes involved in making this switch and have shown that it encodes the worm equivalent of the mammalian insulin receptor. The finding not only provides a possible link between aging and a key regulator of the body's metabolism, but also offers researchers a new system that may improve their understanding of diabetes.