Metabolic Rate and Longevity

As an addendum to prior discussions of the plasma membrane theory of longevity and related metabolic rate correlations: "Metabolism is a defining feature of all living organisms, with the metabolic process resulting in the production of free radicals that can cause permanent damage to DNA and other molecules. Surprisingly, birds, bats and other organisms with high metabolic rates have some of the slowest rates of senescence begging the question whether species with high metabolic rates also have evolved mechanisms to cope with damage induced by metabolism. To test whether species with the highest metabolic rates also lived the longest I determined the relationship between relative longevity (maximum lifespan), after adjusting for annual adult survival rate, body mass and sampling effort, and mass-specific field metabolic rate (FMR) in 35 species of birds. There was a strongly positive relationship between relative longevity and FMR, consistent with the hypothesis. This conclusion was robust to statistical control for effects of potentially confounding variables such as age at first reproduction, latitude and migration distance, and similarity in phenotype among species because of common phylogenetic descent. Therefore, species of birds with high metabolic rates senesce more slowly than species with low metabolic rates."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18631214

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