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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • daf-2;
  • gene expression;
  • individuals;
  • microarray nematodes

Summary

We compare the aging of wild-type and long-lived C. elegans by gene expression profiling of individual nematodes. Using a custom cDNA array, we have characterized the gene expression of 4–5 individuals at 4 distinct ages throughout the adult lifespan of wild-type N2 nematodes, and at the same ages for individuals of the long-lived strain daf-2(e1370). Using statistical tools developed for microarray data analysis, we identify genes that differentiate aging N2 from aging daf-2, as well as classes of genes that change with age in a similar way in both genotypes. Our novel approach of studying individual nematodes provides practical advantages, since it obviates the use of mutants or drugs to block reproduction, as well as the use of stressful mass-culturing procedures, that have been required for previous microarray studies of C. elegans. In addition, this approach has the potential to uncover the molecular variability between individuals of a population, variation that is missed when studying pools of thousands of individuals.