Florencia Pistone tells us about the boreal whale

The boreal whale is not only huge, but it is also the oldest mammal in history. In the 1990s, ivory points were found on the backs of several live specimens. Whalers stopped using this material in their harpoons in favor of iron in the 19th century, so since then they have had to transport them with driven nails. More recently, Florencia Pistone told us that using a chemical dating technique called amino acid racemisation, the male sample could be estimated to be around 215 years old. Even more remarkable, these cetaceans have a low incidence of age-related diseases such as certain cancers, neurodegenerative or cardiovascular diseases. What’s your secret?

Florencia Pistone explains that the boreal whale has mutations and extra copies of genes associated with the cell cycle.
“These animals have about 1,000 times more cells than humans, but they do not have an increased risk of cancer, suggesting that there are natural mechanisms that may be more effective in suppressing cancer,” says Florencia Pistone.


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