Study Links Mitochondria to Reduced Male Lifespan

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in mitochondria are associated with reduced lifespan in male Drosophila melanogaster only, a consequence of the strictly maternal transmission of mitochondria, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in Current Biology.

To examine the role of mitochondria in sex-specific aging, M. Florencia Camus, from Monash University in Clayton, Australia, and colleagues subjected 13 naturally occurring mitochondrial haplotypes of Drosophila melanogaster to an aging assay to screen for genetic variation in longevity and the rate of senescence.

The researchers found that mitochondrial mutation loads affected patterns of aging in males but not females. The mutation loads consisted of many mutations over multiple sites.

The results "implicate the diminutive mitochondrial genome as a hotspot for mutations that affect sex-specific patterns of aging, thus promoting the idea that a sex-specific selective sieve in mitochondrial genome evolution is a contributing factor to sexual dimorphism in aging, commonly observed across species," Camus and colleagues conclude.

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Updated on August 03, 2012

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