Longevity

Suspended Animation: How the African Killifish Could Help Stop Ageing in Humans

Posted on 21 February 2020

The African killifish has an unusual and intriguing ability: as an embryo, it can enter a state of suspended animation called diapause. This could have evolved as a response to environmental pressures such as drought, allowing the killifish to pause its development and survive for years – longer than their adult lifespan – until conditions improve.

Now, research published in the journal Science has uncovered how the killifish achieves this state – by regulating the activity of genes controlling organ development, metabolism, and muscle preservation. This was achieved mainly by chromatin regulators: proteins that influence gene activity by controlling how DNA is packaged.

It is interesting to speculate whether a state like diapause could be induced in humans to extend their lifespan. Authors suggest a deeper understanding of the phenomenon could at least help elucidate the general mechanisms that preserve cells and slow ageing.

One can hypothesise that turning on a “diapause-like” state – or tapping into the molecular machinery of diapause – in some adult tissues or cells could help preserve them long-term. We think it’s interesting from a fundamental point of view to understand how the accumulation of the damage due to the passage of time can be stopped or suspended. Diapause offers us a way to understand this,

Professor Anne Brunet, Stanford University
Davis, N. (2020). African killifish may hold key to stopping ageing in humans. Retrieved 21 February 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/20/african-killifish-may-hold-key-to-stopping-ageing-in-humans


References

Vertebrate diapause preserves organisms long term through Polycomb complex members: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6480/870

Watch African killifish embryos enter suspended animation to survive: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/watch-african-killifish-embryos-enter-suspended-animation-survive

African killifish may hold key to stopping ageing in humans: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/20/african-killifish-may-hold-key-to-stopping-ageing-in-humans

Featured in This Post
Topics

Never Miss a Breakthrough!

Sign up for our newletter and get the latest breakthroughs direct to your inbox.

Checkout the Gowing Life Store

Scientifically Developed Blended Vitamins, and Exclusive Supplements For Health, and Longevity

Copyright © Gowing Life Limited, 2021 • All rights reserved • Registered in England & Wales No. 11774353 • Registered office: 14th Floor, St James Tower, 7 Charlotte Street, Manchester, United Kingdom, M1 4DZ.