Stem cell exhaustion is an important cause of vertebrate ageing. We are exploring the ageing of the crucial haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) lineage that generate blood cells, using African killifish, an exciting emerging model organism, together with zebrafish, a well-established genetic system. The compressed lifespan of killifish allows us to search for cellular factors contributing to age-associated HSC exhaustion; we will then test these in zebrafish telomerase mutants, which age prematurely and show impaired HSC development. This research will identify genes that cause stem cell ageing and so are targets for interventions to promote healthy ageing in humans.
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