Shorter life span
Longevity research. While this approach has been very fruitful indeed, studies of S. ratti aging illustrate the value of limited investigations of the biology of aging in selected animal species. Such studies in the comparative biology of aging can yield fundamental facts about the biology of aging. A good example of this is the study of Hydra vulgaris which revealed an apparent absence of senescence in this species (Martinez, 1998). This demonstrates that aging is not a necessary feature of adult metazoan biology. It seems likely that there are many unusual and informative patterns of aging to be discovered, particularly among lower invertebrates, which may include the absence of senescence, facultative nonsenescence and examples of phenotypic plasticity of aging even more extreme than in S. ratti. The possible value of organisms with exotic patterns of aging is likely to increase as the ease of genome sequencing increases and its expense falls. Comparative functional genomic approaches, using whole genome microarray analysis, applied to such organisms, have the potential to yield insights into both the biology of lifespan determination and the evolution of aging and longevity.
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