A new study says that a bowhead whale can live more than 200 years of life cycle. Researchers hope this whale can provide insight into how humans can lead a long and healthy life.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have arranged the genome of the whale and compared it with other short-lived mammals.
They have found some unique genetic alterations is this species that include genetic alterations related to cell division, cancer, DNA repair and aging may have helped increase its longevity and avoid contracting diseases typically associated with old age.
Senior author Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães said in apress release “Our understanding of species’ differences in longevity is very poor, and thus our findings provide novel candidate genes for future studies. My view is that species evolved different ‘tricks’ to have a longer lifespan, and by discovering the ‘tricks’ used by the bowhead we may be able to apply those findings to humans in order to fight age-related diseases.”
It should be mentioned that this whale has about 1000 times more cells than humans do. According to the Scientists this natural mechanism is responsible for the animal’s cancer resistance.
In addition to that the metabolic rate of bowhead whale is far less than that in smaller mammals and boffin have found that changes in one specific gene involved in thermoregulation (UCP1) that may be related to metabolic differences in whale cells.
Bowheads are related to right whales, and like the right whale they are slow-moving filter feeders that subsist largely on zooplankton like copepods, euphausiids and mysids, the NOAA says. And not only are they the longest living mammals at up to 200 years old, but they are also one of the heaviest, reaching 100 tons – that’s second to only the blue whale. They are typically found in icy Arctic waters, though earlier this year one was found very far from home in Cape Cod Bay. There are thought to be between 7,000 and 10,000 of these animals alive today.