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Genes involved in the control of longevity have been discovered in Caenorhabditis elegans aboard the ISS

Last Updated: July 13, 2012

All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

The International C. elegans-first (ICE-1st) experiment conducted in 2004 aboard the International Space Station (ISS) studied the aging of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans, or nematode worms). The collaborative research group found some genes of C. elegans were down-regulated during the spaceflight and inactivated such genes of . C. elegans living on the ground. The C. elegans live longer than the normal C. elegans, and the results suggest that genes involved in controlling longevity are suppressed in space.

The achievement was appeared on line on July 5, 2012, in the Scientific Reports of Nature Publishing Group of the United Kingdom. The achievement was realized by a research team including JAXA staff, Shuji Honda and Yoko Honda of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, the local incorporated administrative agency.

Experiments using C. elegans are drawing attention throughout the world. JAXA is currently considering space experiments to understand the mechanisms that cause aging and muscular atrophy.

Special message from the co-investigator, Akira Higashibata, ISS Science Project Office, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)

Caenorhabditis elegans are tiny roundworms used in various researches for studying biological processes. In conducting space experiments, C. elegans is a very useful subject as the handling is relatively easy. I can imagine that C. elegans will continue to play an active role in space.

See overview of a planned space experiment by Yoko Honda and Shuji Honda, team members of the above experiment along with JAXA.

*All times are Japan Standard Time (JST)

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