GMGI Research Published in Scientific Reports

Researchers at GMGI have been studying the extraordinary lifespan of the red sea urchin, and recently had their research published in Scientific Reports.

Unique age-related transcriptional signature in the nervous system of the long-lived red sea urchin Mesocentrotus franciscanus” was co-authored by Andrea Bodnar, GMGI’s Donald G. Comb Science Director, and Jennifer Polinski, Research Associate.

Their research investigated age-related patterns of red sea urchin gene expression – the extent to which various genes are turned on and off. The results revealed a unique pattern of gene expression in nerve tissue that is distinctly different to that seen in the aging nervous system of humans.

“Sea urchins and humans actually share a close genetic relationship and these genetic similarities have made sea urchins a valuable animal model for scientific research into questions ranging from early embryonic development to tissue regeneration and aging. Many of the genes analyzed in this study are conserved in both humans and sea urchins,” said Bodnar, who began this research over a decade ago at The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. “Ultimately, our hope is that what we learn from sea urchins will translate into preventative or therapeutic strategies for age-related degenerative diseases in humans.”

The research conducted at GMGI was generously supported by the Dusky Fund of the Essex County Community Foundation, with the work conducted in Bermuda funded by a Bermuda Charitable Trust.

You can read the full paper here.