Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2018 Sep;1864(9 Pt A):2680-2689. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.05.028. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

Aging across the tree of life: The importance of a comparative perspective for the use of animal models in aging.

Author information

Groupe de recherche PRIMUS, Department of Family Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, 3001 12e Ave N, Sherbrooke, QC J1H 5N4, Canada. Electronic address:


Use of model organisms in aging research is problematic because our ability to extrapolate across the tree of life is not clear. On one hand, there are conserved pathways that regulate lifespan in organisms including yeast, nematodes, fruit flies, and mice. On the other, many intermediate taxa across the tree of life appear not to age at all, and there is substantial variation in aging mechanisms and patterns, sometimes even between closely related species. There are good evolutionary and mechanistic reasons to expect this complexity, but it means that model organisms must be used with caution and that results must always be interpreted through a broader comparative framework. Additionally, it is essential to include research on non-traditional and unusual species, and to integrate mechanistic and demographic research. There will be no simple answers regarding the biology of aging, and research approaches should reflect this. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Animal models of aging - edited by Houtkooper Riekelt.


Aging; Comparative biology; Complexity; Disposable soma; Diversity; Model organism

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center