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For worms, one gene can change survival behavior

Natural variations on a single gene cause worms to either eat or avoid harmful bacteria

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3:17pm, January 15, 2009

This just in: A key to living a long, healthy life is to avoid getting sick. The observation that worms live longer by avoiding harmful bacteria is not earth-shattering. But the basis of this life-extending behavior turns out to be riveting: A single genetic change in the tiny worm Caenorhabditis elegans compels some worms to stay away from harmful bacteria and others to eat the microorganisms, researchers report online January 15 in Science.

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