Today’s Solutions: May 30, 2024

Lobsters are famous for living long lives, but when it comes to determining the age of an individual organism, it’s actually surprisingly difficult. As they molt and develop new exoskeletons throughout their lives, they shed many of the telltale signs of aging, making it difficult for fishermen and conservationists to protect the species and maintain healthy populations.

Fortunately, a new study published in Evolutionary Applications has determined a way to root out the true age of these deceptive creatures. Using the accumulation of methyl groups, molecules that attach to strands of DNA over time, researchers can track how long an organism has been alive. This process, called methylation, is caused by environmental factors like diet and smoking in humans. The researchers believe that environmental factors are also responsible for these signs of age in lobsters.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers took DNA samples from the legs and antennae of 155 lobsters between the ages of 0 and 51 months. Analyzing samples from these lobsters of known age allows the team to map out differences in methyl groups among lobsters of varying ages.

Although analyzing DNA is a time-intensive process, the researchers are optimistic that establishing an aging mechanism for lobsters will allow conservationists to better monitor and protect populations. Moving forwards, the team plans to continue to analyze lobsters up to six years old to see how factors such as water temperature affect methylation.

Source study: Evolutionary ApplicationsAgeing European lobsters (Homarus gammarus) using DNA methylation of evolutionarily conserved ribosomal DNA

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Volcanic ash may be a game changer in sustainable solar energy storage solutions

When calamity hits and volcanic ash blankets the land, it is commonly perceived negatively, for many obvious reasons. However, novel research from the University of ...

Read More

Outdoor play could be a visionary solution for children’s eye health

In the age of screens and digital devices, encouraging children to engage in outdoor play may appear to be a daunting task. However, new ...

Read More

How people in Blue Zones drink alcohol

While there is quite a bit of debate around touting alcohol as something that is beneficial to our health, the fact of the matter ...

Read More

Natural treatment prevents mosquitos from biting through human skin

Every year, mosquitoes are to blame for approximately 350 million human ailments, a number that is likely to rise as climate change increases the ...

Read More