A genomic predictor of lifespan in vertebrates

December 16th, 2019

Ben Mayne, early career researcher, together with colleagues from the Environomics FSP have discovered a simple way to estimate how long a species lives using DNA.
The discovery has revealed the lifespans of extinct species such as woolly mammoths and Neandertals.

A genomic predictor of lifespan in vertebrates, published in ‘Scientific Reports’ last week, will benefit fisheries and conservation management, which until now has relied on observing how long animals live in the wild.

The method for estimating maximum natural lifespan is based on DNA. If a species’ genome sequence is known, the researchers can estimate its lifespan, but lifespan estimation can’t predict how long an individual animal or person will live.

For more information, read CSIRO’s media release, ‘Genetic ‘clock’ predicts lifespan in animals’, the blog, ‘A new study shows an animal’s lifespan is written in the DNA. For humans, it’s 38 years’ or the published paper here.