Rockin’ Rockfish

Life will be AWESOME in – oh, two hundred years…?! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying…

Flying cars, teleportation machines, negative-calorie desserts … too bad I won’t be around to see it! But if I were a rockfish? No problem! Some live for twenty years, but others can live for TWO CENTURIES!

Enter Sri Raj Rohit Kolora from UC Berkeley and team. They wondered – what makes these fish so … ageless? 

The researchers studied eighty-eight rockfish species. They compared the DNA found in both long-lived and short-lived swimmers. Then, they analyzed how quickly the rockfish genes evolve and correlated that with their lifespan. 

And? Longer-lived rockfish have MORE genes that repair their DNA. This helps them to grow bigger, adapt in deeper water, and resist harmful inflammation! 

Why so rock-curious? Well, we humans share these genetic traits with rockfish. The scientists believe this study gives us more insight into OUR aging process!

These rockfish are ROCKIN’ my world! In a good way.

Reference: Kolora, S. R. R., Owens, G. L., Vazquez, J. M., Stubbs, A., Chatla, K., Jainese, C., Seeteo, K., McCrea, M., Sandel, M. W., Vianna, J. A., Maslenikov, K., Bachtrog, D., Orr, J. W., Love, M., & Sudmant, P. H. (2021). Origins and evolution of extreme life span in Pacific Ocean rockfishes. Science, 374(6569), 842-847.

Image credit: Chad King/NOAA MBNMS