Funded by the Ellison Medical Foundation, the effort will dramatically expand the number and kinds of organisms traditionally examined in aging research.
The benefit of using diverse species for such research can be seen in a recent report that certain butterflies that feed on fruit live longer than related species, leading to new investigations into the role played by genes, amino acids and food sources in the aging process.
Meanwhile, the lifespan of a Latin American bat (Tadarida brasiliensis, www.eol.org/pages/327954), curiously long compared to mice relatives of a similar size, may be the result of its body's ability to maintain a more stable physiological condition that mitigates cellular protein damage (see report at www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/7/2317).
"Most species have not been studied in a medically-relevant way," Dr. Miller says. "EOL is simplifying such research by creating a handy reference for the scientific and common names of species, body size, age of reproduction, habitat, geographic location and temperature and more, all of which could be relevant to unraveling longevity's secrets."
Says James Hanken, Director, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology and chair of the EOL Steering Committee: "The Encyclopedia of Life is one of the most vital and ambitious human endeavors ever undertaken. By enabling researchers from around the world to communicate and share research data, the EOL will make a lasting contribution to our fundamental understanding of life on earth."
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Encyclopedia of Life