Laufer Center Seminar
Variability in Longevity and the Origins of Individuality
Within a given species, lifespan is extremely variable, yet most of this variability is not genetically determined. It is often supposed that these differences are due to stochastic variations in the accumulation of damage over time. However, lifespan may also be determined by inter-individual differences in epigenetic states (e.g. chromatin structure or self-maintaining gene-expression states), perhaps determined developmentally. I will discuss experiments I have performed to address these questions, using a novel system that allows individual, genetically identical C. elegans to be followed throughout their lives in isolated, identical environments.