X-Message-Number: 23918
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 20:43:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: an interesting model for vertebrate aging

Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 Nov 7;270 Suppl 2:S189-91.
Extremely short lifespan in the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri.

Evolutionary theories of senescence postulate that lifespan is determined
by the age-dependent decrease in the effects of natural selection.
Factors that influence survival and reproduction at early life stages
have a larger impact on fitness than factors that influence later life
stages. According to these views, selection for rapid sexual maturation
and a steep age-dependent decrease in fitness drive the evolution of
short lifespans. Here, we report on the survival trajectory of
Nothobranchius furzeri (Pisces: Ciprinodontidae): a member of a group of
annual species found in temporary bodies of water whose life expectancy in
the wild is limited to a few months. We find that maximum survival of N.
furzeri in the laboratory is less than 12 weeks. The temporal trajectory
of survival shows an age-dependent increase in the mortality rate that is
typical of organisms with defined lifespans. The lifespan of N. furzeri is
exceptionally short for a vertebrate: owing to its small size and the
possibility of propagation in captivity, N. furzeri could be used as a
convenient model for ageing research.

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