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Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 3 October 2001
Vol. 2001, Issue 1, p. pe1
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2001.1.pe1]

PERSPECTIVES

Using Yeast to Discover the Fountain of Youth

Matt Kaeberlein, Mitch McVey, and Leonard Guarente

The authors are in the Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. E-mail: keeshond{at}mit.edu (M.K.)

http://sageke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sageke;2001/1/pe1

Abstract: The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has long served as a model organism for the study of basic cellular processes. Its short generation time, well-established molecular genetics, and fully sequenced genome have made this organism a favorite of researchers in diverse fields. Much of the information obtained has been shown to apply to higher eukaryotes, including humans. Recently, researchers have begun using yeast to tackle one of the outstanding questions in science: How and why do organisms age? The identification of individual genes in yeast that can affect the aging process itself has elevated this single-celled fungus to full contender status in the aging field. In this Perspective, we present two fundamentally different measures of aging in yeast: replicative life-span and stationary phase survival (chronological life-span). We describe the benefits and limitations of each and present models that attempt to explain these "aging" phenomena. Finally, we present compelling evidence that the use of yeast as a model system will ultimately prove beneficial to the study of human aging.

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