Lobsters can live a surprisingly long time, but it's actually pretty difficult to tell how old they are at any given moment. Via InsideScience.
How old is that lobster? Check its DNA.
, environmental factors, and aging can cause methylation (and demethylation) to occur. The causes are likely similar in lobsters, where the accumulation of methyl groups on strands of DNA build a so-called"epigenetic clock" -- a record of how long they've been alive.
When the research team, led by postgraduate researcher Eleanor Fairfield, took DNA samples from the legs and antennae of 155 lobsters of known ages between 0 and 51 months, they found that older lobsters had more methyl groups attached to their DNA than younger ones.
MORE: Plenty of fish in the sea? Scientists can now count them using DNAThe technique could bring a new level of accuracy to a wildlife management concern that's only ever been a matter of expert guesswork. But the paper is still primarily a proof of concept that won't lead to a new tool developed anytime soon, Taylor explained. Extracting and analyzing DNA is a laborious and time-intensive process, using expensive equipment that wouldn't be of any practical use aboard a fast-paced fishing boat. And even some magical pocket tool that could do all that in an instant would still require data on the methylation patterns in the lobsters in the area, as well as a better understanding about the rate of variation between the local animals. headtopics.com
"It might be that in very cold areas methylation accumulates more slowly, or more rapidly," Taylor said. His lab is now looking at how methylation varies in lobsters of the same age in different environments and is also studying lobsters up to six years old to see if the sliding scale of methylation continues.
MORE: Eating sustainably is one of the easiest ways to combat climate change, experts sayUltimately, this finding could help humans protect lobsters by keeping their populations as naturally balanced as possible."If you heavily exploit the population, you might take out all the big individuals, or all the little individuals," Taylor said, making it harder for that population to adapt to changes in the environment."It's been shown that in general, a natural age structure in a population is far more resilient."
is an editorially independent nonprofit print, electronic and video journalism news service owned and operated by the American Institute of Physics. Read more: ABC News »
Grammy-award winning singer surprises street performer - CNN Video
What are the chances? A street performer in Boston was singing a John Legend song when she spotted him in the crowd. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.
September's Country Rookie of the Month: Callista ClarkCallista Clark tells Billboard about crafting her debut EP, and her current single 'It's 'Cause I Am.'
Tallulah Willis, an ‘Antsy-Handed Chronic Picker,’ Shared New Skin Transformation Photos'I am truly forkin proud!!!”
Kaia Gerber And Jacob Elordi Made Their Red Carpet Debut In Matching Designer OutfitsIt's giving chic, old Hollywood and timeless at the same time.
Halsey is Drenched in Blood in Live 'I Am Not a Woman, I'm a God' VideoHalsey drops dramatic live video for 'I Am Not a Woman, I'm a God,' in which she is splashed with blood. 🎤❤️ Nah Kanye is a GOD!
How decentralized finance works, and why it’s taking on Wall StreetWhat would a world without banks look like? The answer may lie in decentralized finance. LatticeExchange are cutting edge DeFi innovation leaders $LTX Not just taking on, crushing…
Capitol rioter insists 'I am not a person' in 'self-destructive' court appearancePauline Bauer had previously argued in court that she was not subject to any laws or decisions made by judges, juries or the government. When you watch Alan Dershowitz, you come up with this insane defense. Does this surprise anyone?