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Is Nature our Best Assurance of Healthy Ageing? Lessons from age-resilient animal species

Otto, Tegan (2019) Is Nature our Best Assurance of Healthy Ageing? Lessons from age-resilient animal species. Master's Thesis / Essay, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.


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Ageing is a complex and multifactorial phenomenon. The molecular mechanisms underlying ageing are characterized in nine distinct hallmarks of ageing. Although ageing is a common phenomenon in most species, not all species have the same lifespan and rate of ageing. There are species that are extraordinary long-living or extreme stress resilient. Do these species have different molecular mechanisms to resist the functional decline as described in the hallmarks of ageing? And could we explore the potential of these differences to extend human health and lifespan? Here I present two examples that show this might be the case by showing the unique capacity of the naked mole rat to maintain proteostasis and that of tardigrades to maintain genome stability. Both examples show that there are many adaptations that jointly increase the longevity and stress resilience of these species, making transfer of the improved traits complex. Nonetheless, the example of the tardigrade shows that a single tardigrade-specific gene can increase radiation resistance in human cells. This provides evidence that studying species with a natural longevity or extreme stress resilience might be a viable strategy to find mechanisms that, when transferred to humans, may increase human healthy lifespan.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2019 13:27

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