In tomorrow's (July 1) issue of Genes & Development, Siu Sylvia Lee, of the department of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and Gary Ruvkun, of the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School, report ?the first genome-wide functional genomic screen for longevity genes.? The two teams used a library of 16,475 RNA interference constructs (created by Julie Ahringer at the University of Cambridge, UK) to inactivate genes in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Their analysis yielded a list of 89 candidate genes, 33 of which have clear orthologs in fruit fly, mouse, or humans, suggesting evolutionary conservation of aging's regulators.The findings, Ruvkun told me, mark the insulin-signaling pathway as a potent arbiter of longevity in the worm. So, for instance, ablation of the age-1 (phosphatidylinositol 3- and 4-kinase) and akt-1 (serine/threonine kinase) genes both resulted in ?robust lifespan extension? ? the age-1...
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