Molecular biology: Chewing the fat

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    Science 322, 957–960 (2008) 10.1126/science.1162011

    Certain stem cells may link ageing and obesity, according to Gary Ruvkun and his colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. When they halted the development of germline stem cells — those that make reproductive cells — from the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the animals suddenly began storing less fat.

    The authors pinpointed a gene, K04A8.5, that encodes a fat-burning enzyme, and showed that this gene's expression is boosted in fat storage tissues in worms that lack germline stem cells. Elevating the expression of K04A8.5 decreased fat storage in worms carrying mutations that conferred increased longevity, whereas reducing it using a technique called RNA interference shortened their lifespans.

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    Molecular biology: Chewing the fat. Nature 456, 145 (2008) doi:10.1038/456145c

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