Dr. Rozalyn Anderson on How Age-Defying Animals Help Advance the Science of Longevity

turtles
  • Dr. Rozalyn Anderson

The extreme lifespans of two animals are helping scientists understand some of the molecular processes that control aging. 

Unlike most short-lived rodents, the naked mole rat lives up to 31 years; with a lifespan of nearly 200 years, tortoises are among the longest-living creatures on earth, and some turtle species' tolerance of anoxia (survival in absence of oxygen) has captured attention of researchers. 

Rozalyn Anderson, PhD, associate professor, Geriatrics and Gerontology, provided her perspective for a Business Insider article about how research on the metabolic strategies of mole rats and tortoises is helping scientists understand the fundamental biology of aging in primates, including humans. 

Dr. Anderson's research, which focuses on caloric restriction in monkeys, suggests links between age-related diseases and metabolic diseases, disorders, and conditions, including obesity. 

"I think it's all about energy: energy use, energy storage, and the type of pathways that are being engaged to derive energy," she said. 

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Photo (top): Painted turtles line the limb of a fallen tree in Willow Creek near Temin Lakeshore Path at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 14, 2015. Photo credit: Jeff Miller/UW-Madison