Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality

Ronald S. Petralia, Mark P. Mattson, Pamela J. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Here we review the examples of great longevity and potential immortality in the earliest animal types and contrast and compare these to humans and other higher animals. We start by discussing aging in single-celled organisms such as yeast and ciliates, and the idea of the immortal cell clone. Then we describe how these cell clones could become organized into colonies of different cell types that lead to multicellular animal life. We survey aging and longevity in all of the basal metazoan groups including ctenophores (comb jellies), sponges, placozoans, cnidarians (hydras, jellyfish, corals and sea anemones) and myxozoans. Then we move to the simplest bilaterian animals (with a head, three body cell layers, and bilateral symmetry), the two phyla of flatworms. A key determinant of longevity and immortality in most of these simple animals is the large numbers of pluripotent stem cells that underlie the remarkable abilities of these animals to regenerate and rejuvenate themselves. Finally, we discuss briefly the evolution of the higher bilaterians and how longevity was reduced and immortality lost due to attainment of greater body complexity and cell cycle strategies that protect these complex organisms from developing tumors. We also briefly consider how the evolution of multiple aging-related mechanisms/pathways hinders our ability to understand and modify the aging process in higher organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-82
Number of pages17
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Animals
Aging of materials
Ctenophora
Clone cells
Clone Cells
Cells
Platyhelminths
Sea Anemones
Hydra
Cnidaria
Anthozoa
Pluripotent Stem Cells
Porifera
Stem cells
Yeast
Tumors
Cell Cycle
Yeasts
Head
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Bilateria
  • Cnidaria
  • Hydra
  • Metazoa
  • Neoblast
  • Planaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology

Cite this

Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality. / Petralia, Ronald S.; Mattson, Mark P.; Yao, Pamela J.

In: Ageing Research Reviews, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2014, p. 66-82.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Petralia, Ronald S. ; Mattson, Mark P. ; Yao, Pamela J. / Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality. In: Ageing Research Reviews. 2014 ; Vol. 16, No. 1. pp. 66-82.
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