Linda B. Buck, Ph. D.
Harvard Medical School

A High Throughput Screen for Longevity Genes.

C. elegans is an ideal model organism for exploring the mechanisms that determine lifespan. It is short-lived, its genome has been sequenced, and its utility for studying aging has been demonstrated by previous studies. Moreover, because similar molecular strategies are often used in C. elegans and mammals to achieve the same overarching goal, what is learned in this organism is likely to shed light on aging in mammals. To search for "longevity genes" that influence lifespan, we will use a novel, high throughput approach. We will first screen large chemical libraries for compounds that extend lifespan in C. elegans, and then determine the identities of the molecules with which they interact in the organism. In this way, we hope to rapidly obtain a broad view of the multiple processes that can influence aging as well as those that may operate in a subset of cells to exert a higher level, "central" control over aging throughout the body.

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