Friday 24 November 2017

Shark that lives to 400 could hold key to cheating death

The team has taken fin clippings from almost 100 Greenland sharks, including some born in the 1750s. (Stock photo)
The team has taken fin clippings from almost 100 Greenland sharks, including some born in the 1750s. (Stock photo)

John von Radowitz

A shark that lives for almost four centuries could hold the secret to long life, say researchers.

Greenland sharks, with a lifespan of up to 392 years, are thought to possess unique longevity genes now being searched for by scientists.

Professor Kim Praebel, from the Arctic University of Norway, who is leading the hunt, said: "This is the longest-living vertebrate on the planet. Together with colleagues in Denmark, Greenland, USA, and China, we are currently sequencing its whole nuclear genome which will help us discover why the Greenland shark not only lives longer than other shark species but other vertebrates."

The team has taken fin clippings from almost 100 Greenland sharks, including some born in the 1750s.

Already the researchers have mapped out all the 16ft shark's mitochondrial DNA - genetic material held in tiny battery-like bodies in cells that supply energy. The "long life" genes could shed light on why most vertebrates have such a limited life span, and what determines life expectancy in different species, including humans.

Irish Independent

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