Blog | Monday, November 24, 2008

Are ants the key to the human aging process?

An NYU School of Medicine researcher is hoping to understand human longevity by using ants as his subjects. The hope is that gene regulation in ants will provide a model for human aging.

According to the researcher, ants can assume either reproductive or non-reproductive roles, and queens live up to 10 times longer than workers. The researcher will completely sequence the genomes of three ant species. Then, he'll assess whether changes in the brain and behavior occur from the environment and what changes in gene expression drive the adaptations.

"I truly believe that this project will open the door for my next 20 years of science," the researcher said. How long is that in ant years?