News of the WeekAGING RESEARCH

Single Gene Controls Fruit Fly Life-Span

Science  30 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5390, pp. 856
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5390.856a

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On page 943, a research team reports the discovery of a gene that when mutated allows fruit flies to live up to 35% longer than normal fruit flies. Many researchers had believed that in most species aging results from the haphazard buildup of damaging mutations in individual cells, but this finding provides new evidence that aging is regulated by genes. The discovery also bolsters the idea that molecular stresses such as tissue-damaging free radicals contribute to aging, because the mutant methuselah gene also improves the flies' ability to withstand stress.