X-Message-Number: 11833
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 19:09:17 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: accelerate aging

Finally an explanation that might help understand why animals have
different life spans.

               Who's the boss?
                According to a common view of animal evolution, bodies
have evolved to
                propagate sperm and eggs from one generation to the
next. Scientists assumed
                this meant that genes had evolved to maximize
reproductive success in the
                full-grown animal. However, it looks like the gonads
influence the life span of
                the animal directly. When researchers destroyed germ
cells in worms, the
                animals lived 60% longer than normal. That means that
germ cells send out
                signals that accelerate aging.

Reference: Hsin, H. and Kenyon, C. 1999. Signals from the
                    reproductive system regulate the lifespan of C.
elegans. Nature

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