The longer an animal’s lifespan, the less mutations occur

What determines the lifespan of different species of animals? Why do some creatures live only a few days and others even reach almost two centuries? Until now, scientists have believed that the main motivation lies in body size: smaller organisms burn energy faster than adults, resulting in more Turnover Cellular and premature aging.

Experts thus explain why rats and mice live a few years, dogs live about 20 years, when an Asian elephant is more than 80 years old, obviously considering only those creatures that “die for it.”Aging“And not accidental or prey victims (more common among smaller species).

This “Current Rules” However, it is denied by some species such strange Mole rats Somaliar (Heterocephalus gleber), 20 cm long but able to survive 25 years, as much as a large giraffe.

A new study published in Nature recently states that Long life privacy Instead it will live Low mutation rate The longest living species, regardless of their body size.

The rate of mutations and the stomach paradox

Greenland sharks are currently the longest-known vertebrate species.  The species reaches sexual maturity at about 150 years of age
In the picture: Greenland sharks are currently the longest-known vertebrate species. The species reaches sexual maturity at about 150 years of age

Genetic mutation, known as Somatic mutations, Occurs in all cells during the life of an organism. This A completely natural process: In our species, for example, cells acquire 20 to 50 mutations per year. Most of these mutations will be harmfulBut some of them may compromise the normal functioning of cells or lead to tumor formation.

The question is associated with a strange biological “enigma”. Gourmet Paradox: Larger animals with hundreds of billions of cells have a higher risk of cancer than small animals?

Since the 1950s, some scientists have speculated that these mutations may play a role in aging, but the difficulty of observing somatic mutations has made this possibility difficult to verify. In recent years, technological advances have finally made it possible to observe genetic changes in normal tissues, allowing the answer to be found.

In this new study, a research team at the University of Cambridge analyzed the genomes of 16 mammal species, from rats to giraffes to mollusks, humans, tigers and lions, across a wide range of lifetimes and body mass. Genome-wide sequences were created from 208 intestinal samples taken from 48 organisms to measure mutation rates in single intestinal stem cells. Many of these tissue samples were provided by a number of organizations, including the London Zoological Society.

Analysis of the signals of mutations is also called “Mutational Signature” Interesting information provided: The author confirms that The lifespan of a species is much longer, Mutations that occur at slow speeds.

To better understand this, let’s go back to the previous example, the comparison between mole rats and giraffes. Well their mutation rates are surprisingly similar. Mole rats go through 93 mutations per year and giraffes through 99 mutations.

Doctor Alex CaganOne of the lead authors of the study said: But the most exciting aspect of the study is that the lifespan is inversely proportional to the rate of somatic mutations. This suggests that somatic mutations may play a role in aging, although alternative explanations may be possible. Over the next few years, it will be interesting to expand these studies to more diverse species, such as insects or plants.

Search for The answer to the peto paradox However, it continues, such as Dr. Adrian Bez-Ortega: ‘It is entirely possible that whenever a species evolved on a larger scale than its ancestors, such as giraffes, elephants and whales, evolution could find a different solution to this problem. If we want to know, we have to study these species in more detail.

But what could be the real results of this study? Countless, even for animal welfare: “Animals often spend much more time at the zoo than they do in nature, so our veterinarians often spend time dealing with aging conditions – explained Dr. Simon SpiroVeterinary Wildlife Pathologists at the Zoological Society of London – The genetic mutations identified in this study suggest that aging diseases will be similar in a wide range of mammals, starting at seven months or 70 years of age, and will help keep animals happy and healthy in their later years. ‘

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