Genetics and Genomics of lifespan in the short-lived African Turquoise Killfish

Lifespan is a remarkably diverse trait ranging from a few days to several hundred years. While great progress has been made in identifying conserved genes that modulate aging, the genetic architecture and evolution of lifespan differences are not well understood. Here we sequence the genome of several strains of a naturally short-lived vertebrate, the African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) and assemble a reference genome, thereby providing a unique resource for comparative genomics. Linkage analysis between killifish strains with different lifespans reveals that the main locus associated with lifespan is on the sex chromosome, raising the possibility that sex and lifespan co-evolved. Interestingly, known longevity genes are under selection in this short-lived species, suggesting that similar modules can be used to evolve both short and long lifespans. Finally, our unbiased discovery of selected genes in this species may give insights into the evolution of large lifespan differences in the wild.

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Dr Jemeen Sreedharan
The Brian Heap Seminar Room