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Trends Genet. 2001 Dec;17(12):712-8.

Genetics of lifespan in C. elegans: molecular diversity, physiological complexity, mechanistic simplicity.

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Dept of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Dr Penfield Avenue, Québec, H3A 1B1, Montréal, Canada.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is used as a model system for the study of aging. Several mutant strains that have an increased lifespan have been isolated and characterized genetically and molecularly. Molecular analysis reveals that diverse types of gene products can affect worm lifespan, including proteins active in signal transduction, transcription and silencing factors, mitochondrial enzymes, and at least one protein that affects telomere length. Genetic analysis, however, suggests that these activities all converge on a few key mechanisms that impinge on lifespan, namely the production, repair and prevention of molecular damage.

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