Different species have different life spans. From insects to Giant Whales all have their life span some short while some as long as 200 years. The current understanding of the difference in longevity of different species is poor and it is only now that scientists have been unraveling the mystery of why some species live long while some do not.
Our body is just like a machine which overtime becomes slow and prone to aberrations and all this is coded in that tiny storehouse of information DNA. With passage of time defects in the genome lead to aberrations which can manifest into diseases like cancer. However recent studies on Bowhead Whale revealed that these marine denizens can have a lifespan of 200 years without any age related ailments like cancer. Studies could reveal the secrets of longevity and also reverse the process of aging.
The research involved the complete genome of the bowhead whale and was led by Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães, from the University of Liverpool. The genome of the bowhead whale was compared with other mammals and researchers were surprised by the differences. The bowhead whales have alteration in cell division and their DNA can repair faster.
The researchers compared the genomes with other mammals and found the bowhead whales genes pertaining to DNA repair; cell cycle, cancer and the aging process were markedly different.
University of Liverpool geneticist João Pedro de Magalhães, who led the study, published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, “This is the biggest animal whose genome has been sequenced thus far and the first big whale to be sequenced. By identifying novel maintenance and repair mechanisms, we hope to learn what the secret for living longer, healthier lives is and may be able apply this knowledge to improve human health and preserve human life.”