Monday, November 25, 2019

This gene may help worms live longer, but not healthier !

Related Article :

At the University of Pittsburgh, a geneticist studying aging named Arjumand Ghazi studies a gene that lengthens nematode worms' lives and allow how its necessity for reproduction also makes the worms more susceptible to infection and stress. Although usually longevity-promoting genes generally help organisms deal with stress, this proves to be the opposite in this case.

They found that a gene called TCER-1 increases life span and is needed for Caenorhabditis elegant worms to produce eggs and healthy offspring. However worms missing this particular gene fought off bacterial infection for nearly twice as long as worms with an intact gene, and worms that made more of the TCER-1 protein than usual succumbed to infection faster however they were able to overcome declines in fertility caused by exposure to a pathogen. These results indicated that when functioning normally, the gene helps suppress immune responses so more resources can be used for reproduction.

I found this article very interesting to read and understand how the body allocates resources, and how longevity genes in many animals increase resistance to stressors like infection. By diverted resources meant for stress management, the TCER-1 gene ensures that the animal reproduces efficiently to benefit the species.

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