Youthful Poo Makes Aged Fish Live Longer

It may not be the most appetizing way to extend life but researchers have shown for the first time that older fish live longer after they consumed microbes from the poo of younger fish. The findings were posted to the bioRxiv.org preprint server on March 271by Dario Valenzano, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany, and colleagues.

So-called ‘young blood’ experiments that join the circulatory systems of two rats — one young and the other old — have found that factors coursing through the veins of young rodents can improve the health and longevity of older animals. But the new first-of-its-kind study examined the effects of ‘transplanting’ gut microbiomes on longevity.

“The paper is quite stunning. It’s very well done,” says Heinrich Jasper, a developmental biologist and geneticist at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, who anticipates that scientists will test whether such microbiome transplants can extend lifespan in other animals.

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