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Mechanisms of Longevity in the Greenland Shark

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With the discovery of the Greenland shark being the longest living vertebrate, its biology became of greater interest to researchers. Some teams have focused on the sharks metabolism to determine how much food it must eat and if this may be related to its lifespan, others have been more interested in reproduction asking how long pregnancy may last. Our team has focused on the cardiac health of the Greenland shark to help determine how their hearts have adapted to facilitate this incredible longevity and if these adaptations could give insight to improving cardiac health in humans.

Do Greenland Sharks Possess Mitochondrial Adaptations?

9 Hallmarks of aging
  • Members of the team and collaborators have utilised a number of techniques to investigate the Greenland sharks longevity including: respirometry, enzyme activity analysis, EM and CometChip analysis.

  • Future work will attempt to determine if the Greenland shark shows any of the "9 hallmarks of aging" (seen in image above). This will be completed with further metabolic enzyme analysis, further study of genomic instability, investigating telomere attrition rates and investigating epigenetic alterations.

  • Latter stages of this project will also involve studying a wider range of tissues from the Greenland shark and comparing to tissue collected from other comparative species.

Relevant Papers

Ste-Marie E, Watanabe YY, Semmens JM, Marcoux M, Hussey NE. A first look at the metabolic rate of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) in the Canadian Arctic. Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 9;10(1):19297. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-76371-0. PMID: 33168918; PMCID: PMC7653932.

Nielsen J, Hedeholm RB, Heinemeier J, Bushnell PG, Christiansen JS, Olsen J, Ramsey CB, Brill RW, Simon M, Steffensen KF, Steffensen JF. Eye lens radiocarbon reveals centuries of longevity in the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus). Science. 2016 Aug 12;353(6300):702-4. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf1703. Epub 2016 Aug 11. PMID: 27516602.

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