Monday, February 11, 2019

Long Lived Lonesome George Clues to Longevity

Charles Darwin developed the idea of natural selection using the tortoises he found on the Galapagos island back in 1835. He preached the idea that these amazing animals adapted there shell to help them survive the lifestyle they endured. In 2012, Lonesome George- the longest living original turtle from the islands- passed away. However he was still giving hints to scientists about longevity and good health. Dr. Aldagisa Caccone,  sequenced the entire genome of Lonesome George and then compared it to other genomes of living animals. She found that there was a gene mutation, IGF1R, that is also found in humans that could be key to longevity in the turtle AND humans.  This gene has one copy in the human genome however the tortoise carried 12. This makes it much more effeceint to carry out these processes to help the turtle live a century.

The amazing part about these tortoises is that they offer so much information to humans. If we can study them more and learn about there genome, we could have solutions to regeneration of body parts. They could survive temperatures that humans could not possible survive. And much like in 1835, were the tortoises were helping the world understand evolution, Lonesome George is once again teaching the world about adaptation and longevity.

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