Many species show unique, extraordinary traits, the result of adaptation to extreme environments or fitting to unique ecological niches.
This includes for example the tardigrade which is resistant to radiation, desiccation, extreme temperatures and other conditions. Also, the naked mole rat, elephant and bowhead whale show extreme longevity and resistance to cancer. Understanding the mechanisms allowing these traits may advance our ability to manipulate these pathways to improve health.
“Test Tube” Evolution
We are taking advantage of the remarkable traits of the nematode C. elegans as a model organism, to monitor evolution in the lab. We use mutants and apply external selective pressure to learn about incomplete penetrance ), and what determines lifespan.