New comparative genomics approach reveals a conserved health span signature across species

Aging (Albany NY). 2011 Jun;3(6):576-83. doi: 10.18632/aging.100342.


Environmental and genetic interventions extend health span in a range of organisms by triggering changes in different specific but complementary pathways. We investigated the gene expression changes that occur across species when health span is extended via different interventions. To perform this comparison using heterogeneous datasets from different measurement platforms and organisms, we developed a novel non-parametric methodology that can detect statistical significance of overlaps in ranked lists of genes, and estimate the number of genes with a common expression profile. By comparing genetic and environmental interventions that consistently lead to increased health span in invertebrates and vertebrates we built a conserved health span signature and described how such a signature depends on tissue type. Furthermore, we examined the relationship between calorie restriction and resveratrol administration and for the first time, identified common gene and pathway changes in calorie restriction and resveratrol in both invertebrates and mammals. Our approach can thus be used to explore and better define the relationships between highly complex biological phenomena, in this case those that affect the health and longevity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Mice