“How long we live may be a function not only of our genetics and the environment, but of our ancestors’ epigenetics as well, a study published (October 19) in Nature suggests.”
Researchers mated long-lived worms with specific mutations with normal, wildtype worms, and then selected the offspring that had a wildtype genetic makeup—i.e., those worms that had not inherited the mutation. This allowed the researchers to effectively eliminate the genetic mutation and look for any lingering marks on the genome.
“To their ‘extreme surprise,’ the researchers observed that lifespan was still being extended by 25 to 30 percent in the third generation of worms descended from the mutated worm, even though they were genetically identical to wildtype individuals who lived a normal length of time.
While we’re definitely very different from worms, this study does bring up some interesting questions…
“It is well known that aging is regulated by genes that we inherit from our parents, and it is also well known that aging is regulated by the environment,” Brunet said. “But maybe aging is also regulated by what our parents and grandparents did during their lifespan.”
Food for thought.
You can read the entire article in The Scientist here: