Note in Science page
Created Aug 07 15, Updated Aug 07 15 15:41
A new model organism to study aging (and other things) go to comments

Seen on article A model for ageing


Nothobranchius furzeri a turquoise killifish represent a new model to study the ageing in vertebrates.

The GRZ strain is inbred line that lives 9 weeks on average to 13 weeks at the most (under controlled laboratory conditions), it’s genome has been sequenced and its genome could be manipulated (CRISPR/Cas9 method), making it an ideal (not too long to wait!) model organism to study longevity in complexe vertebrate organisms.

Nothobranchius shows protein deposits and damage in the brain becoming increasingly common with advancing age. Older animals learn less quickly to associate a harmless light stimulus with a frightening mechanical disturbance in the water. The animals become more sluggish and lose weight, their kidneys become less efficient, and they grow tumors (Cancer is the most common cause of death in laboratory killifish).

It looks like it is short lived because of the extreme dryness of it’s natural habitat: being built for long living would be a waste as the animals would die of “natural” dessication anyway! Confirming the theory aging = not build to last longer than the time it takes to die of other causes!

Other fish do not sacrifice their longevity. Lungfish, for example, which live in the same ponds as Nothobranchius, burrow deep into the mud, where they wait for the drought to end. Some lungfish can reach the ripe old age of 50 years or more. Related species of Nothobranchius in the New World have solved the problem quite differently. North American killifish jump out of drying ponds and survive the dry period on land in damp wood.

Now let’s wait for results of gene manipulation + comparison with longer lived strains…

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