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Worm lifetime 'longer in space'

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 7/8/12

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At www.bbc.co.uk

Spacefaring worms undergo genetic changes associated with longer lives in their Earth-bound cousins, research has shown... Researchers found reduced activity of five genes in the worms that, when suppressed in the species on Earth, lead to longer lifetimes... They have been routinely taken as cargo on space missions to study in a simple organism the biological changes that future human spacefarers may face; the worms even survived the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003... But it was also the first multi-celled organism to have its entire genome sequenced, and researchers are now getting to the bottom of what changes space travel [induces in] the worms' genomes... 'It would appear that these genes are involved in how the worm senses the environment and signals changes in metabolism in order to adapt to the environment,' said Dr Szewczyk.

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At www.bbc.co.uk

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