We used Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) to compare the global transcription profiles of long-lived mutant daf-2 adults and dauer larvae, aiming to identify aging-related genes based on similarity of expression patterns. Genes that are expressed similarly in both long-lived types potentially define a common life-extending program. Comparison of eight SAGE libraries yielded a set of 120 genes, the expression of which was significantly different in long-lived worms vs. normal adults. The gene annotations indicate a strong link between oxidative stress and life span, further supporting the hypothesis that metabolic activity is a major determinant in longevity. The SAGE data show changes in mRNA levels for electron transport chain components, elevated expression of glyoxylate shunt enzymes and significantly reduced expression for components of the TCA cycle in longer-lived nematodes. We propose a model for enhanced longevity through a cytochrome c oxidase-mediated reduction in reactive oxygen species commonly held to be a major contributor to aging.