Special Reviews

Genetics and the Specificity of the Aging Process

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Science  28 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5611, pp. 1351-1354
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082358

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The identification and study of long-lived mutant animals has provided valuable insights into the mechanisms that limit the life-span of organisms. Findings with the gene SIR2suggest that the rate of aging can be regulated under certain conditions. Indeed, increased expression of SIR2 lengthens life-span by acting on biological processes that promote survival under conditions of scarcity. In addition, studies of mutant strains ofCaenorhabditis elegans, in particular daf-2,clk-1, and isp-1 mutants, suggest that the biology of reactive oxygen species in the mitochondria and elsewhere might be the main determinant of life-span in this organism. Thus, the aging process may be more specific than previously anticipated on evolutionary grounds.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: siegfried.hekimi{at}mcgill.ca

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