The recipe for the longevity is more complex than expected: the list of genetic ingredients it can in fact vary according to sex and age. This is demonstrated by a maxi studio conducted on over 3,000 genetically different mice. The results, useful for understanding the mechanisms that regulate the physiological aging in mammals (including humans), they are published in the journal Science by an international group led by Maroun Bou Sleiman of the Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne.
“Aging is a multifactorial process with many genes interacting with each other with small effects,” comments Giuseppe Novelli, geneticist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. “The authors of the study just tried to identify which and how many genes are involved in this process using for the first time a large number of unrelated mice, in order to evaluate the different genetic weight “.
One has emerged from the analyzes ten genes which affect longevity, often with different effects depending on sex andetto. Their action is also conditioned by environmental factors. “These genes are in fact known to be induced by extrinsic factors such as chemical agents (drugs or stress), physical agents (such as radiation) or by other genes”, explains Novelli.
Many of the DNA regions related to longevity in mice also appear to be so in humans and in the worm C. elegans (one of the most used animal models in genetics laboratories), so they preserved in the course of evolution. The researchers also found some overlap between the regions of the DNA linked to longevity and those related to body weight and growth: this data confirms that the duration of life is the result of a complex interaction between several factors. Diet also plays an important role: the study shows that aging in mice also depends on what they ate as children, just as it happens in humans.
By studying the expression of genes in the liver, an organ essential to health, the researchers also found that “in females, the genes of interferon (responsible for innate immunity) are more active and could therefore explain why they live longer than These data – continues Novelli – resume and confirm our recent discovery of the role of interferon genes in determining the greater severity of male Covid patients “.
In the future, new studies will be needed to establish whether the ‘genetic ingredients’ of longevity discovered in mice also apply to humans. “We must above all keep in mind that in our species – concludes Novelli – socio-cultural factors also contribute to aging which influence and modulate our genome not a little”.
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