A recent study indicates that species with larger pancreatic cells tend to have shorter lives.
Yuval Dor, a developmental biologist at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, and colleagues analysed the mature pancreases of 24 different species of mammals.
They found that larger pancreatic cells correlated to shorter lifespans, whereas smaller cells were linked to longer lifespans, when controlling for body size.
Mice were found to have larger pancreatic cells and tend to live for only three years, while the similarly sized fruit bat and mole rat have smaller cells and live 25 and 30 years, respectively.
Prof. Dor and his team suspect that favouring cell growth over replication may allow mice to enter their reproductive months sooner, at the cost of promoting ageing.