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Sex and lifespan linked in worms
Date:7/23/2008

ps into an adult and resumes its normal aging process.

"We usually think of aging as a process of decay," says Schroeder, "but evidence is accumulating that aging is a stage of development like anything else." The researchers speculate that the dauer pheromone may also increase the lifespan of adult worms.

"The next question is how these compounds influence mating behavior and developmental timing on the molecular level," says Schroeder, and whether a similar effect is possible in other animals. "We're looking at genetic pathways that could potentially play a role in delayed aging."

Why would the same chemicals control both sexual attraction and lifespan? The way these chemicals work isn't fully understood yet, but scientists have long known that reproduction and lifespan are related - if an organism can be made to live longer, it usually reproduces less. "How these compounds fit into this picture remains to be clarified, but they provide one of the first direct links between these two life functions," says Schroeder.


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Contact: Frank Schroeder
fs31@cornell.edu
607-254-4391
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
Source:Eurekalert

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