New study says aging may have evolved to protect new generations from damages accrued by the parent…

A new model, published October 27 in Current Biology, has some new ideas surrounding bacteria and aging.  In fact, it goes against everything we’ve always thought about bacteria, namely that they do not age.

Could it be??

In 2005, researchers in France showed that dividing bacteria produce two daughters that replicate at different rates—the first solid evidence for asymmetric division.

Dividing E. coli, Public Health Image Library, Janice Haney Carr

“The finding implied that one offspring was taking a hit, retaining the damaged proteins that prevented it from replicating as quickly as the other, ‘renewed’ daughter cell. In other words, it was aging.”

Then, last year (2010), researchers at Harvard seemed to prove the exact opposite; concluding that “a ‘mother’ E. Coli bacterium could divide a hundred time and not show signs of aging.

So which is it?

It may indeed be both.

In an online article published in The Scientist,  when Chao re-analyzed both studies, he realized both sets of data fit his mathematical model.

The offspring of a mother that divided asymmetrically into faster and slower-growing daughters would have a higher overall fitness than a mother that divided symmetrically. In addition, while some offspring would reproduce faster than others, they would only speed up to a certain point—an equilibrium point.  The slow reproducing offspring, likewise wouldn’t decrease reproduction rate indefinitely; they would never stop dividing altogether. So the lineage produced by the exponential divisions of a single cell could “reach a immortal state” despite the fact that it was dividing asymmetrically, and producing daughter cells that “age,” said Chao.

Read more on bacterial rejuvination and what it means for us at:


About UWF Center on Aging

The Center on Aging at the University of West Florida was established in the Fall of 2010 when the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences faculty along with assistance from Sponsored Research submitted a grant to the State University System Board of Governors in support of aging initiatives for Northwest Florida. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of aging adults through the application of science to address challenges associated with aging and to promote healthy aging, with an emphasis on prevention. This will be accomplished through inter-disciplinary and inter-professional efforts of basic and applied research, consultation, and partnerships with community agencies. Education and training, direct services to the aging population, and public awareness and understanding of the contributions and needs of elders will be primary objectives.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s