Do Sharks Hold the Secret to Longevity?4 months ago
Posted on Aug 08, 2017, 5 a.m.
New study finds that the exceptionally long lifespan of the Greenland shark may provide clues to extending human lifespan.
About Greenland Sharks
Greenland sharks are considered the longest living vertebrates. A team of scientists led by Julius Nielson, a marine biologist from the University of Copenhagen, used radiocarbon dating on 28 Greenland sharks. They established that one of the female sharks was approximately 392 years.
Research Surrounding the Greenland Sharks
The longevity of the Greenland sharks has stirred interest in the research world. Scientists have worked towards identifying the genes responsible for this unique trait.
Could these genes be used to extend the lifespan of human beings? Scientists believe that a successful identification and extraction of the genes could be a major milestone in achieving longevity among human beings.
Researchers at the University of Exeter have studied almost 100 Greenland sharks. They have sequenced their mitochondrial genome. The achievement set an excellent stage for researchers to scrutinize the sequence and understand the reason behind the shark's longevity.
Prof Kim Praebel, the lead scientist of the research, explained why the research is vital. He noted that unraveling the secrets behind the Green shark's longevity may tremendously boost the efforts on the improvement of humans' lifespan.
Why is the Study of Greenland Sharks Important?
Discovery of the genes responsible for longevity in Greenland sharks would be a vital achievement in the research world. It would explain the limited life spans in almost all the vertebrates. Additionally, the discovery would allow the scientists to study whether the genes can be used to prolong the life of the human beings.
The research at the University of Exeter found out that the Greenland sharks swim long distances across the Atlantic Ocean. They discovered that they mate in the deeply hidden fjords of the Arctic. This realization is instrumental in uncovering the negative effects of the activities of human beings on aquatic life. The study of the tissues and the bones of the animal forms genetic data that is crucial in determining when contaminants and chemicals from industries started affecting the marine. The findings would be of considerable benefit to the environment and marine life protection.
The findings of this research have been presented in various forums including the Fisheries Society of the British Isles symposium. The scientists hope that the findings will boost the conservation efforts of the Greenland shark species and other wildlife in the ecosystem.