Scientists have been studying the bowhead whale species and believe their research may shed new light on the secrets of longevity and reversing the process of aging in humans. The new study on bowhead whales reveals that these marine creatures can live up to 200 years without developing age-related diseases – like cancer.
The researchers involved in the new study have presented the complete genome of the bowhead whale and were able to identify the differences in comparison to other mammals, Capital OTC reported. What they found was the bowhead whales have certain alterations in the cell division and their DNA can repair faster. This aids scientists in studying their aging process and what causes them to live longer than other animals. The researchers also believe the new data can help them understand why these whales are resistant to cancer.
Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães, from the University of Liverpool, a scientist involved in the bowhead whale study, said that the current understanding of the differences in longevity of the species is very poor and the recent findings can be extremely relevant because it provides new candidate genes that will help further studies.
He added he believes animals have evolved to prolong their lifespan by utilizing different “tricks”. He said these “tricks” that the bowhead whales use can help scientists apply them to humans and fight age-related diseases.
The new study revealed that although large whales have 1,000 more times cells than humans; these mammals do not have an increased risk of developing cancer. This means that bowhead whales have developed a mechanism that fights against cancerous cells from invading their bodies. These defense mechanisms are more advanced in other animals, the study shows.
Scientists hope in the future they can identify those specific genes that could help explain why whales have a longer life span than other mammals, including humans. Through their initial study, they have identified a gene called ERCC1 that helps the DNA repair itself.