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Gut Microbes & Longevity

July 20, 2017

Microbes living in our gut may influence how long we live.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Can gut bacteria increase longevity? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Every cell in our body gets its energy from mitochondria, tiny little organelles that descended from free-living bacteria about two billion years ago. Now, scientists report that bacteria living in our gut may communicate with their distant cousins, preventing disease and increasing longevity. Baylor College geneticist Meng Wang studies ther bacteria using worms as model organisms.

MENG WANG (Baylor College of Medicine):

We have a collection of nearly 4,000 different bacteria strains and see, okay, which one can make the worms live longer.

HIRSHON:

In the journal Cell, she reports that twenty-nine of the bacteria increased the worms’ lifespans, some by producing a compound that regulates mitochondria activity. Understanding how could lead to a whole new paradigm in treating the illnesses of old age. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon