Now, spiders may help scientists demystify the cobweb of ageing | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Now, spiders may help scientists demystify the cobweb of ageing

Using spiders as a model, the research team at Aligarh University, is expected to provide an insight into how ageing affects behaviour in organisms, including humans.

lucknow Updated: Jun 15, 2017 16:10 IST
K Sandeep Kumar
As spiders grow older, their web shows erratic weaving and gaping holes.
As spiders grow older, their web shows erratic weaving and gaping holes. (File Photo)

A team of scientists at the Allahabad University (AU) are trying to unravel the mystery of ageing in humans by studying the phenomenon in spiders.

Using spiders as a model, the research team at AU, led by prof SI Rizvi of biochemistry department, is expected to provide an insight into how ageing affects behaviour in organisms, including humans.

Past researches have already established that house spiders spin web with perfect angles and regular patters when they are young. As they grow older, their web shows erratic weaving and gaping holes.

In their recent research paper scheduled to appear in the next issue of science journal National Academy Science Letters (Springer), the research team has provided evidence that protein content in spider web silk decreases with ageing.

The team is looking forward to derive meaningful conclusions from this observation with respect to human aging.

The AU scientists also studied the role of diet on the quality of protein content in the web spun by garden and house spiders. “Environmental factors play an important in the biochemical constituent of spider webs.

The protein content varied when the diet of the spider changed,” Prof Rizvi told Hindustan Times.

He said the universality of degenerative changes that occur in spiders during aging and its similarity with human aging suggested that aging was an evolutionary phenomenon.

“However, the effect of diet also a contributing factor which cannot be overlooked,” he added.

Prof Rizvi’s team is studying the mechanism of aging at various levels. His recent research marks a significant understanding of the universality of alterations that take place in living organisms during the aging process.

“A clear understanding of events during aging may help scientists devise an effective anti-aging strategy,” added prof Rizvi.

There are at least 46,428 species of spiders around the world. Every specie spins silk to create its unique web architecture.

Spider’s silk is an extraordinary semi-crystalline protein that has a toughness equivalent to steel and elasticity comparable to rubber.