OHSU scientist studies parrots to find key to longer life

OHSU's Dr. Claudio Mello discusses his work, which looks at how the genes of parrots can help us understand the key to a longer life. (KATU Photo)

The key to a longer life just might be a bird.

A new OHSU study explores how parrots may hold answers to questions humans can’t answer.

Dr. Claudio Mello helped publish a paper in the latest edition of Current Biology.

The OHSU scientist worked on a team comparing the genes of a parrot with that of nearly 30 different bird species.

The investigators found a wealth of genes previously not known to play a role in a longer life.

Mello says parrots could be pointing us in the right direction.

"We hope that it could apply to other organisms, including humans, and try to better understand the factors that determine lifespan, life expectation," he said.

Many of the genes are also linked with brain development, which Mello says could help us better understand human brain function.

The genomes were collected from a bird still living in Brazil.

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