Professor Austad, you do a lot of studies across animal species. You wrote two books regarding the aging and lifespan and healthspan in different animal species. How real is the correlation between what we observe in nature and its applicability to humans? So I'll give an example. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. So, for example, the beta-amyloid accumulates in great apes, but they don't get Alzheimer's as far as I understand. So that's probably true. But we are very similar to great apes. Right. So what do you think of the correlation between what we learn in animals? And how is it applicable to humans?
Yes, I think we really need to rethink the way we do our animal research. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. One of the things that I like about studying animals in their natural habitat is that living in nature has its challenges. It has difficulties with the weather, disease exposure, and many other things. So we know that animals are successfully living in nature because they're healthy, because as soon as their health starts to decline, they're dead. Now, we don't get any of these effects in the laboratory. In the laboratory animals don't get extremes of heat and cold. They don't. We don't even get them normal daily rhythms. So the way we try to emulate nature. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD.
We know now is that over 80% of our genes are turned on and off in daily rhythms and patterns. What we don't do in the laboratory is we turn off the lights, we turn on the lights, and we assume that we're mimicking the sort of biological rhythms in nature. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. But in nature, lights aren't turned on and off. First of all, the light goes away slowly. It comes on slowly. Changes in temperature accompany it. That changes slowly but dramatically. We don't mimic any of that in the laboratory. We try to keep infections out of our laboratory colonies as much as possible. Now, there was some reason to do all this to standardize conditions at one point because it simplifies our experiments. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD.
But at some point, we need to start adding more realism back into our laboratory experiments. Dr. Steven Austad, PhD. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. The animals that we use now in the laboratory. If we release them into nature, they wouldn't survive a day. They've lost all of those capabilities. That means it's a very different kind of thing that we're studying in the laboratory. They could deal with real-world problems. So I think it's time for us to rethink the way our laboratory colonies are managed.