Scientists have uncovered an unusual link between sex, calories and longevity

© Fotolia / tieroМужчина working at a computerScientists have uncovered an unusual link between sex, calories and longevity© Fotolia / tiero

. Scientists have uncovered an unusual example of the impact of gender on longevity of living creatures – worms-males do not begin to live longer with chronic lack of food, and have more sex which is not typical for their relatives hermaphrodites, according to a paper published in the journal Cell Reports.

«We hope that our study will help us to understand the development of aging and what determines the life expectancy. For example, in most species of animals, the representatives of both the floor needed to extend kind, and a strict diet about the same prolong its life. Males of the nematode is not required for procreation and this technique is not valid,» says Sakiko Honjo (Sakiko Honjoh) from Kyoto University (Japan).

Experiments on worms, mice and other animals back in the 60’s of the last century, showed that the decrease in the number of calories in the diet significantly prolongs animal life. During the following decades, biologists have identified dozens of genes and hormones potentially involved in this phenomenon, but none of them never managed to learn how to use to extend the life of a human or these animals.

Kodama and her colleagues found a possible cause of all these failures, watching how calorie restriction affects the activity of two varieties of conventional laboratory worms-nematodes (Сaenorhabditis elegans) hermaphrodites and males, are not able to continue the race.

As a rule, hermaphrodites dominated in most populations of these worms are only one species out of thousands is male. For this reason, most experiments, including experiments on the prolongation of life, are held on the hermaphrodites. The authors have fixed that, and got very unexpected results.

When scientists restricted the number of calories in the diet of worms, hermaphrodites behaved in the expected age – they stopped breeding, and their lifespan increased on average by several weeks in comparison to animals fed a normal diet. This, however, did not happen with males.

The lack of food has affected them in a strange way – they actively sought partners for procreation and more multiplied than did hermaphrodites in a similar situation. As a result, their life expectancy has not increased and has remained about the same.

Interestingly, the behavior of males and their life span can be changed by blocking the work of just one gene, DAF-12 is responsible for reading the «male» hormones of nematodes. Males with blocked DAF-12 have lived as long as hermaphrodites, but remained unisexual beings and did not change their behavior.

Such an unusual connection between aging, gender and diet, as according to Japanese biologists, may exist among other types of multicellular animals. Their study and disclosure will help us to understand why calorie restriction differently affect the lifespan of a human, other mammals and other living beings.