The prevailing theory of the evolution of aging holds that aging is a side effect of genes that promote growth and development of organisms that have a low likelihood of continued survival in the wild once they have reproduced. Many organisms with a low expectation of survival in the wild experience rapid decline once they have reached reproductive maturity.
But Bodnar and Coffman's findings contradict that theory. They found that although the variegated sea urchin, L. variegatus, has a much lower life expectancy in the wild than the other two species they studied, it displayed no evidence of a decline in regenerative capacity with age, which suggests that senescence may not be tied to a short life expectancy in the wild.
The scientists are planning future studies to identify why short-lived sea urchins experience negligible senescence, and, in particular, the role of the immune system in maintaining youthful function into old age.
At the moment, I got plenty of wrinkles. I got to talk to the Keystone urchins about their secret