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Short-lived killifish are attracting increasing interest as a study animal for researchers working on ageing.

Short-lived killifish are attracting increasing interest as a study animal for researchers working on ageing. Dominik Schmitz/Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research


Young guts make elderly fish sprightly

Getting a younger animal’s microbiome brings longevity.

Fish live longer after they consume microbes from the guts of younger brethren.

Turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), which inhabit ephemeral ponds that form during rainy seasons in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, are among the world’s shortest-lived vertebrates. A team led by Dario Valenzano at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany, allowed 9.5-week-old (middle-aged) fish to consume gut microbes from 6-week-old killifish.

The transplanted microbes successfully recolonized the guts of the fish that ate them, and extended their lives. The median lifespan for these animals was 41% longer than that of fish exposed to microbes from middle-aged animals, and 37% longer than for fish that received no treatment. At 16 weeks — old for killifish — the individuals that received gut microbes from young fish were more active than other elderly fish, with activity levels more like those of 6-week-old fish.

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Selected materials found in the gut contents of Tollund Man

The intestinal contents of a man killed in a prehistoric ritual (clockwise from upper left): barley, charred food that had been encrusted in a clay pot, flax seeds and sand. Credit: Peter Steen Henriksen, the Danish National Museum


The guts of a ‘bog body’ reveal sacrificed man’s final meal

Tollund Man, who lived more than 2,000 years ago, ate well before he was hanged.
Illustration of Earth with white lines showing the magnetic field.

Earth’s magnetic field (depicted as white lines in this artist’s impression) can be studied with observations from a constellation of commercial satellites. Credit: Mikkel Juul Jensen/Science Photo Library


Telecoms satellites’ new purpose: spying on Earth’s magnetic field

Clues to the forces generated by the planet’s core emerge from observations intended for satellite navigation.
Ageing of an artwork with graphene

After 130 hours of artificial ageing by visible light, the painting Triton and Nereid has lost some of the purple tint to the figures’ right, but a graphene film kept the bright pink at upper left undimmed. Credit: M. Kotsidi et al./Nature Nanotechnol.

Materials science

A graphene cloak keeps artworks’ colours ageless

A layer of carbon atoms preserves a painting’s vibrant hues — and can be applied and removed without damage.
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