Spanning a large swath of the model organism spectrum, a team led by Assistant Professor Ron Korstanje, Ph.D., used research with C. elegans to screen for genes significantly associated with aging. In a paper published in Aging Cell, Korstanje leveraged the worms' short (~three-week) lifespan to build upon previous research using human cohort data. Those data showed that the expression levels of approximately 1,500 human genes change with age. Beginning with 82 C. elegans orthologs of the genes that showed the largest differences, the researchers found that 50 affected worm lifespan, indicating the usefulness of the human data. Five of the genes extended lifespan by greater than 20 percent, providing promising candidates to investigate for effect and mechanism in subsequent mouse studies.
Sutphin et al.: Caenorhabditis elegans orthologs of human genes differentially expressed with age are enriched for determinants of longevity. Aging Cell, April 12, 2017.