Science & Technology
Taller people may have shorter lifespans
By T.K. Randall
December 3, 2015 · 26 comments
The world's tallest man - Turkish farmer Sultan Kösen. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Helgi Halldorsson
Researchers have revealed that taller individuals within a species don't live as long as shorter ones.
Scientists from Scotland's University of Glasgow and Norway's University of Science and Technology have published the results of a new study which examines the connection between the relative size of an individual and their average lifespan.
What they found was that while larger animal species tend to live longer than smaller ones, larger individuals within a particular species tend to die earlier than shorter individuals.
An elephant for instance will live a lot longer than a rabbit whereas a large dog such as a St. Bernard is likely to have a significantly shorter lifespan than a small dog such as a Jack Russell.
While the researchers were unable to fully explain why this is the case, they believe that it may have something to do with telomeres - a region of protective DNA at the ends of a chromosome.
Larger individuals tend to have smaller telomeres than shorter individuals and this could more easily lead to the onset of age-related diseases and other conditions such as cancer.
"Growing a bigger body means that cells have to divide more. As a result, telomeres become eroded faster and cells and tissues function less well as a result," said Professor Pat Monaghan.
"The reason why the bigger individuals have shorter telomeres might also be related to increased DNA damage due to growing faster. Being big can have advantages, of course, but this study shows that it can also have costs."
Source: Market Business News
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