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Maryland Today | Hibernation slows down UMD-driven biological aging in bats…

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The most common bat in the United States, the large brown bat, has an unusually long lifespan of up to 19 years. A new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland reveals that hibernation is one of the secrets to the bat’s extraordinary longevity.

“Hibernators tend to live much longer than migratory birds,” said senior author of the study, UMD biology professor Gerald Wilkinson. “We knew that, but we didn’t know if we could detect epigenetic age changes due to hibernation.”

The researchers found that hibernating for one winter extended the bat’s epigenetic clock, a biological marker of aging, by three-quarters of a year.A study published in the journal today Proceedings of the Royal Society Balso included scientists from McMaster University and Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada.

They analyzed small tissue samples taken from the wings of 20 large brown bats (Epthetic BrownFrom under 1 year old to over 10 years old, they hibernate in winter and are active in summer.

The researchers measured changes in DNA methylation, a biological process associated with gene regulation, between samples taken from the same animals during active and hibernating periods. They found that DNA methylation changes occur at specific sites in the bat genome, and these sites appear to influence metabolism during hibernation.

“It’s clear that the sites that reduce methylation in winter are those that appear to have an active effect,” said Wilkinson. “Many of the genes closest to them are known to be involved in regulating metabolism, so they are thought to suppress metabolism.”

Some of these genes are the same ones that Wilkinson and fellow researchers identified as “longevity genes.” previous research.

Read the full news release on the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences website.

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