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Grantees in the News: Stephen Helfand, MD publishes paper on newfound longevity mutation in wild fruit flies

Feb 5
2014

Grantees in the News: Stephen Helfand, MD publishes paper on newfound longevity mutation in wild fruit flies View MoreBACK

A team of researchers at Brown University, including 1995 AFAR Award grantee Stephen Helfand, MD, published a study in the journal Aging on January 31, 2014, which found that a genetic mutation (called Indy for, “I’m not dead yet”) present in lab-bred fruit flies also occurs in the wild. The team found that this element, called Hoppel, was present in 77% of wild fruit fly lines from all over the world going back 60 years.

Dr. Helfand explained that these findings are the first to expand scientists’ understanding of Indy from the lab to the wild: “It’s kind of remarkable that just the Hoppel in Indy should affect fertility and life span because these flies from around the world are from such differing genetic backgrounds,” said Helfand. “This suggests that we are correct that Indy does play a role in longevity. If it does it in the lab, that’s great, but now we can show that it does it in the wild.” Learn more here.

Dr. Helfand is a Professor of Biology at Brown University.





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