UC Berkeley researchers explore longevity of rockfish genome

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Anthony Angel Pérez/Staff
UC Berkeley researchers found more than 137 gene variants associated with longevity in the DNA of rockfish, findings which could hold implications for the lifespan and adaptation of other species in the future.

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A variety of genes connected to a longer lifespan can be found in rockfish genome, according to a study from UC Berkeley researchers. 

Researchers performed a genomic analysis of 88 species of rockfish and six long-read genomic analyses of rockfish species in the northern Pacific Ocean. According to the study, researchers found more than 137 longevity-associated gene variants within the DNA of the rockfish.

Evolving over the past 10 million years, there are more than 120 species of rockfish in the Pacific Ocean, according to Rohit Kolora, a postdoctoral researcher at the Sudmant Lab.

The longevity-associated genes found included adaptations to living at greater depths and growing larger. However, with longer lifespans, there were also smaller populations, the Berkeley News article states.

“Since there was huge advancement of sequencing, there have been high quality genomes, being structural changes in the entire genome of the species,” Kolora said.

Among the species of rockfish are the Sebastes aleutianus, or rougheye rockfish, that can live more than 200 years in the cold depths off the coast of Japan, the Berkeley News article adds. Researchers used a technique called PacBio’s Single Molecule, Real-Time to sequence the rockfish

Additionally, 60% of the variation in lifespan can be explained by the size and depth at which the fish live, the Berkeley News article states.

“Rockfish mature at much older ages and remain highly fertile,” Kolora said. “This adaptation aids in the longevity of the rockfish.”

Sequencing entire genomes for multiple species could help in future studies relating to the variation of lifespan and adaptation to particular environments, Kolora said. The study could also aid in future conservation efforts for species that have been affected by oil mining.

Kolora said moving forward, their research will focus on separating the confounding variables in the study and finding what specifically aids in the aging of the fish.

Contact Nathan Saldana at [email protected].