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Review
, 64 (2), 199-201

Comparative Biology of Aging

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Review

Comparative Biology of Aging

Steven N Austad. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.

Abstract

Virtually, all research on basic mechanisms of aging has used species that are short lived and thus demonstrably unsuccessful at combating basic aging processes. A novel comparative approach would use a diversity of populations and species, focusing on those with particularly long, healthy lives, seeking the causative mechanisms that distinguish them from shorter lived relatives. Species of interest from this perspective include the naked mole rat, a mouse-size rodent that lives up to 30 years in the laboratory, and the little brown bat, which lives up to 34 years in the wild. Comparisons among dogs of different sizes, which differ by more than 50% in health span might also prove rewarding, as might novel species chosen because of their similarity to humans in certain key traits. Primates, because of their sophisticated cognitive ability, are a group of special value, and small, short-lived primates like the common marmoset might prove especially beneficial. Cell repositories and tissue banks from key species, as well as genomic and analytic tools optimized for comparative studies, would make valuable contributions to a new comparative approach to basic aging research.

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