Humans have a natural lifespan of 38 years according to a new method that can be used to estimate the lifespans of several species by analyzing ancient DNA.
By extrapolating data from genetic studies of species with known studies, it is possible to estimate the lifespan of other species. For example, it is thought that the woolly mammoth lived for approximately 60 years, while the bowhead whales will survive for more than 250 years.
The new study explored how the DNA will change as an animal becomes older. It was observed that the changes would vary from one species to another while also being linked to how long they can live.
Aging plays an essential role in biomedical and ecological research. As animals will grow older, a decline of the biological functions will take place, reducing the lifespan. In the past, it was quite hard to determine how long can an animal live.
Ancient DNA encodes the potential lifespan
It is well-known that DNA serves as a blueprint for all living organisms and can offer valuable data about aging and lifespan. A significant roadblock was represented by the fact that the relevant DNA sequences are quite hard to spot.
More data about the lifespan of wild animals is an essential boon for wildlife management and conservation initiatives. In the case of endangered species, the lifespan will allow researchers to identify more viable species.
For the study, the researchers selected 252 genomes of vertebrate species available on an online data-based. They compared them with another batch of data that was focused on known animal lifespans.
The two sets of data allowed them to estimate the lifespan of vertebrate species observing where the DNA methylation was placed among 42 select genes. With the help of the method, the researchers could determine the lifespan of many creatures, including those that went extinct. The study was published in a scientific journal.