Enormous advances in our knowledge of genetic contributions to ageing and disease, and in our understanding of the potential for manipulation of the ageing process, have taken place during the past twenty years. This is the first volume in decades to consolidate this research in one place. It provides a broad and current overview of the most promising advances in genetic research on ageing, current understanding of genetic contributions to the basic processes of ageing, and age-related disease. The Review focuses on the ageing process from lower organisms to man, and is organised in ascending order of biological complexity starting with stem cells and progressing through worms, flies, mice and humans. Where relevant, the Review also includes information about yeasts and non-human primates.The research presented in the Review uses a species comparative approach that makes finding cross species similarities (gene conservation) and differences (gene differentiation) apparent. This approach reflects the way in which the field is organised, making it highly useful for investigators who want quick access and a concise summary of a particular topic.
Richard L. Sprott, PhD, is Executive Director of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He began his undergraduate studies at Franklin and Marshall College and completed them at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a BA with honours in Psychology. After receiving his PhD in Experimental Psychology (Behavior Genetics) at UNC he went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in Behavior Genetics at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Following two years of teaching at Oakland University, Dr. Sprott returned to The Jackson Laboratory where he conducted a research programme on single gene influences on behaviour and the interaction of ageing variables with those genes.After a decade in Maine, Dr. Sprott moved to the National Institute on Aging where he directed the Institute's programmes on the Biology of Aging. A major focus of his career has been the development of animal models for ageing research. He developed a nationwide research programme on biomarkers of ageing and the effects of dietary restriction on longevity. He is the author of a large number of books and articles. He is an internationally recognised expert on animal model development and plays an active role in model development in countries around the world. He is the Past President of the International Biogerontological Resource Institute (IBRI) in Friuli, Italy.Dr. Sprott left the National Institute on Aging in 1998 to become the first Executive Director of the Ellison Medical Foundation, created to support basic biological and biomedical research on ageing, and recently expanded to provide similar support for basic research on infectious diseases of importance in the developed and developing worlds. The Ellison Medical Foundation is the largest private foundation source of funding for the biology of ageing, providing about $28,000,000 per year in grant funds for ageing research and $12,000,000 for infectious disease research.