Only 30% of the genes linked to aging are involved in regulating the biological clock, while the remaining 70% modify their function in response to bacteria in the microbiome.
The list of genes linked to aging should be rewritten: only 30% of them will be involved in regulating the biological clock, while the remaining 70% will develop the organism’s microbiome not in time to change their function, but in response to bacteria. This has been demonstrated by a study of the aging bird, which is widely used in genetic laboratories to study aging.
The findings are published in the journal IS Science by researchers from the American National Institutes of Health (NIH). “For decades, scientists across the animal kingdom have compiled a list of genes thought to control the aging process, from worms to mice to humans,” says researcher Edward Ginker. “We were shocked to find that only 30% of these genes regulate the internal clock of animals,” he said, adding that everything else reflects only the organism’s response to bacteria. “We hope these findings will help clinical research understand the forces behind many age-related diseases.”
This finding was born almost accidentally during a study of midges aimed at understanding the role of the microbiome in the overactive immune system that causes neurological damage in many diseases related to brain aging. To shed some light on this matter, the researchers bred newborn flies by giving them antibiotics to eliminate the bacterium.
They observed that bacteria-free flies lived 63 days longer compared to 57 untreated flies: “This is a big leap, equivalent to 20 years of human life,” says researcher Arvind Kumar Shukla. Analyzes performed on treated insects at 10, 30, and 45 days indicate that the function of their genes changes very little over time: it is believed that 70% of the genes are associated with aging, which may instead be linked to the response to bacteria (actually they are involved in controlling stress and immunity). .
The remaining 30% of treated flies are caused by the remaining 30% of aging genes (regulation of sleep-wake cycle, olfactory and binding to the exoskeleton surrounding insects), whose activity changes slowly over time compared to control pups.
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