Subarea 3: Genetics and Epigenetics of Aging

The focus of Subarea 3 is on genetic and epigenetic determinants of life- and health span as well as aging in fish, rodents and humans. This line of research builds on the expertise of the institute in comparative and functional genomics.

The research is defined by five focus areas:

  • Comparative genomics in short- and long-lived models of aging,
  • Genomic engineering in N. furzeri,
  • Epigenetics of aging,
  • Non-coding RNAs in aging, and
  • Comparative transcriptomics of aging.

Research focus of Subarea 3.

To uncover causative factors for aging, comparative genomics in short- and long-lived model systems are applied. Functional genomics is used to identify novel pathways contribute to aging of an organism and to validate the functional relevance of genetic and epigenetic changes that occur during aging. Furthermore, genetic risk factors for aging-related diseases are identified and functionally tested. The future development of the Subarea aims to integrate changes in host-microbiota interactions during aging, and how these influence clonal mutation and epigenetic alterations through metabolites and other signals.


(since 2016)


  • Localization and Characterization of Major Neurogenic Niches in the Brain of the Lesser-Spotted Dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula.
    Bagnoli S, Chiavacci E, Cellerino A, Terzibasi Tozzini E
    Int J Mol Sci 2023, 24(4), 3650
  • Distribution of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in the Brain of the Small-Spotted Catshark Scyliorhinus canicula, and Evolution of Neurotrophins in Basal Vertebrates.
    Chiavacci E, Bagnoli S, Cellerino A, Terzibasi Tozzini E
    Int J Mol Sci 2023, 24(11), 9495
  • A comprehensive atlas of the aging vertebrate brain reveals signatures of progressive proteostasis dysfunction
    Di Fraia* D, Marino* A, Ho Lee* J, Kelmer Sacramento E, Baumgart M, Bagnoli S, Tomaz da Silva P, Kumar Sahu A, Siano G, Tiessen M, Terzibasi-Tozzini E, Gagneur J, Frydman** J, Cellerino** A, Ori** A
    bioRxiv 2023, 10.1101/2023.07.20.549210 * equal contribution, ** co-corresponding authors
  • Generation of a transparent killifish line through multiplex CRISPR/Cas9mediated gene inactivation.
    Krug J, Perner B, Albertz C, Mörl H, Hopfenmüller VL, Englert C
    Elife 2023, 12, e81549
  • Rapid Genotyping of Nothobranchius furzeri Embryos, Larvae, and Adult Fish via High-Resolution Melt Analysis (HRMA).
    Krug J, Richter A, Englert C
    Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2023 (epub ahead of print)
  • Genome Structure, Life Cycle, and Taxonomy of Coronaviruses and the Evolution of SARS-CoV-2.
    Lamkiewicz K, Esquivel Gomez LR, Kühnert D, Marz M
    Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2023, 439, 305
  • Interaction between epithelial cells and immune cells in the intestine during aging
    Lu J
    Dissertation 2023, Jena, Germany
  • A computational framework for testing hypotheses of the minimal mechanical requirements for cell aggregation using early annual killifish embryogenesis as a model.
    Montenegro-Rojas I, Yañez G, Skog E, Guerrero-Calvo O, Andaur-Lobos M, Dolfi L, Cellerino A, Cerda M, Concha ML, Bertocchi C, Rojas NO, Ravasio A, Rudge TJ
    Front Cell Dev Biol 2023, 11, 959611
  • Identification of altered miRNAs and their targets in placenta accreta.
    Murrieta-Coxca JM, Barth E, Fuentes-Zacarias P, Gutiérrez-Samudio RN, Groten T, Gellhaus A, Köninger A, Marz M, Markert UR, Morales-Prieto DM
    Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2023, 14, 1021640
  • The Tgf-β family member Gdf6Y determines the male sex in Nothobranchius furzeri by suppressing oogenesis-inducing genes
    Richter A, Mörl H, Thielemann M, Kleemann M, Geißen R, Schwarz R, Albertz C, Koch P, Petzold A, Groth M, Hartmann N, Herpin A, Englert C
    bioRxiv 2023, 10.1101/2023.05.26.542338