By Christopher Wanjek
Why do some kinds of animals live longer than others? For mammals, part of the answer may lie in the number of anti-inflammatory genes.
From mouse to man — and across 12 other mammal species examined — researchers found that those with more copies of genes called CD33rSIGLEC, which is involved in fighting inflammation, have a longer life span.
Moreover, mice that researchers bred to have fewer copies of these genes experience premature aging and early death compared with normal mice, the study found.
“Though not quite definitive, this finding is provocative,” said Dr. Ajit Varki, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who co-led the study. “As far as we know, it’s the first time life span has been correlated with simple gene copy number.”
Scientists report this finding today (April 7) in the online journal eLife.
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