Categories: Science
| On 4 months ago

Study Indicates a Need for Scientists to Rethink About Genes Which Control Aging

By Aswin Kumar

A recent study conducted at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke shows insightful results on the aging of the human body as well as different mechanisms of the human body.

The new study unravels many secrets held by our body. The study explains one of the most important factor of human life cycle, that is, aging. Why do we age?

In a study of Drosophila fruit flies, NIH scientists found that only about 30% of the genes that are hallmarks for aging may set an animal’s internal clock. The rest may reflect the body’s response to bacteria. Above is a picture of a Drosophila gut, a key source of bacteria.

A recent study published in iScience called “Common features of aging fail to occur in Drosophila raised without a bacterial microbiome” unravels a hack to the human body’s mechanism of aging.

National Institutes of Health researchers fed fruit flies, antibiotics and monitored the lifetime activity of hundreds of genes that scientists have traditionally thought control aging. The study was conducted on Drosophila, a type of fruit fly. 

The antibiotics not only extended the lives of the flies but also dramatically changed the activity of many of these genes. Their results suggested that only about 30% of the genes traditionally associated with an aging set an animal’s internal clock while the rest reflect the body’s response to bacteria.


“For decades scientists have been developing a hit list of common aging genes. These genes are thought to control the aging process throughout the animal kingdom, from worms to mice to humans.”, said Edward Giniger, Ph.D., senior investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

“We were shocked to find that only about 30 percent of these genes may be directly involved in the aging process. We hope that these results will help medical researchers better understand the forces that underlie several age-related disorders.”, He further added.

On a sarcastic note, the study was not performed on purpose but happened by accident according to Dr. Giniger.

“This is a big jump in age for flies. In humans, it would be the equivalent of gaining about 20 years of life. We were totally caught off guard and it made us wonder why these flies took so long to die.”, said Arvind Kumar Shukla, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow and the lead author of the study.

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Aswin Kumar

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