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The Unsung Rotifer is Helping us Untangle the Biology of Aging | STAT
By Eric Boodman
You’ve swum with one, stepped on one, maybe swallowed one. This unsung invertebrate could teach us about aging
WOODS HOLE, Mass. — In case you were wondering, Kristin Gribble is not a basher of fruit flies or roundworms. She wants to be clear: She bears no ill will toward those invertebrates so often studied that they’ve become scientific celebrities, recognizable by their truncated Latin names. She knows that Drosophila and C. elegans are powerful tools. She understands the allure of experimenting on creatures we know better than we know ourselves.
As an ecologist, she also thinks we might come to know ourselves a little better — and perhaps, stave off certain indignities of old age — by scrutinizing less famous spineless creatures in the lab. She’s staked her career on a particularly obscure one, and hopes others might do the same. Three to five times a year, she makes a point of mingling with the telomere-researchers and cell-rejuvenators and longevity-hounds who populate scientific conferences on aging. Like everyone else, she’s there to give papers and exchange ideas. But she’s also on a mission: to preach the gospel of rotifers. Read more …