Genescient’s Methuselah Flies

One of Genescient’s chief assets is a proprietary, extremely long lived (about three times as long as wild type) strain of Drosophila fruit flies – the “Methuselah flies.” These flies were created via over 3 decades of experimental evolution that bred for reproductive longevity and optimal health over many biological generations.

Not only are these animals longer lived, they also display superior health and vigor at advanced ages. And many of the genes responsible for the flies’ increased life/healthspan are orthologous/shared with humans.

Genescient’s researchers have tapped this unique reservoir of genomic knowledge to develop and validate a deep platform of therapeutics targeting novel targets in established human diseases.

Between 2006 and early 2010, Genescient’s scientists extensively analyzed gene expression in 5 lines of these Methuselah flies and compared it with data from the corresponding 5 lines of wild-type control flies, using traditional statistics, machine learning, and network analysis.

More recently, in summer 2010, similar analysis was performed on the gene sequences of the Methuselah flies. This work, currently being prepared for publication, resulted in a host of novel insights into the genetic networks underlying longevity, as well as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and other age-associated diseases. The results of this analysis were cross-linked with drug databases, resulting in a systematic list of substances that target key parts of the biological networks related to age-associated diseases.

For more on experimental evolution, see the following: