Comparative Biology of Aging

Animal species differ enormously in their lifespan. Therefore, comparative approach can be a powerful tool to obtain new insights into the mechanisms of aging. Our goal is to identify the mechanisms responsible for the interspecies differences in lifespan. Rodents are an ideal group for comparative aging studies.

Rodents are a phylogenetically related, yet their lifespans are extremely diverse ranging from 2-4 years in mice and rats to over 20 years in naked mole-rats, beavers, porcupines, and squirrels. The longest-lived rodents: naked mole-rat, beaver, porcupine, and squirrel belong to different phylogenetic groups, indicating that slow aging has independently evolved at least four times in rodents.

Long-lived rodents are especially interesting due to their relationship to the best-studied aging models – mice and rats. We are studying the relationship between DNA repair, genome stability, and lifespan in short and long-lived rodents.

Rodent phylogeny