Insulin-like signalling is a key determinate of lifespan in diverse species including mammals but the mechanism by which this pathway influences the rate of aging is unknown. In the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, mutations in the insulin-like signalling pathway extend adult lifespan and are associated with up-regulation of stress response genes including those for heat shock proteins (HSPs). We tested the hypothesis that the C. elegans insulin-like signalling pathway determines longevity through modulating HSP levels. We introduced extra copies of the gene encoding HSP-16 and this conferred stress resistance and longevity both in a wildtype and a long-lived mutant strain. The DAF-16 transcription factor is essential for maximal hsp-16 expression and for lifespan extension conferred by hsp-16. This demonstrates that lifespan is determined in part by insulin-like regulation of molecular chaperones.