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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Feb;17(2):65-71. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Reproduction and longevity: secrets revealed by C. elegans.

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  • 1Program in Gene Function and Expression, Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School 364 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


What is the relationship between reproduction and longevity? Evolutionary biology suggests that reproduction exacts a cost in somatic maintenance, a cost that reduces longevity. The frequent occurrence of this tradeoff between life span and fecundity, both due to experimental manipulations as well as natural variation, suggest that the mechanism might be conserved during evolution. Until recently, little was known about the mechanistic details of how reproduction might regulate life span. Here we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the regulation of life span by reproductive signaling, focusing on studies using Caenorhabditis elegans.

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