Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 26 November 2003
Vol. 2003, Issue 47, p. pe32
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2003.47.pe32]


Linking Development and Aging

Bas J. Zwaan

The author is in the Evolutionary Biology Department, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Kaiserstraat 63, 2311GP Leiden, The Netherlands. E-mail: Zwaan{at}

Key Words: insulin signaling • life history • calorie restriction • development

Abstract: Evolutionary theory predicts that the different life stages of organisms are coordinated to achieve maximal reproductive output. Moreover, aging can be seen as an evolutionary side effect of this selective process that applies to many living organisms. Hence, genetic, developmental, and physiological mechanisms resulting from this selection are expected to be conserved in diverse lineages. The insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (INS) pathway appears to be such a mechanism that regulates life span and reproduction in a variety of model organisms. Here I argue that the experimental tools of environmental manipulation and gene by environment interaction should be used more often both during the experimental organism's development and its adult life. This approach will help us to fully understand the functions of longevity-determining pathways and will determine the life stages during which these pathways exert their effects on adult life. These points are raised because of a recent Aging Cell publication by Tu and Tatar, in which the larval food environment was manipulated to determine the effects on adult reproduction, life span, aging, and INS. The results of this study are a promise of the usefulness of this approach for understanding the aging process.

Citation: B. J. Zwaan, Linking Development and Aging. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2003 (47), pe32 (2003).

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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150