Longevity, cellular senescence and the gut microbiome: lessons to be learned from crocodiles

Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Sutherland Kester Maciver, Adel B. Elmoselhi, Nelson Cruz Soares, Naveed Ahmed Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Crocodiles are flourishing large-bodied ectotherms in a world dominated by endotherms. They survived the Cretaceous extinction event, that eradicated the dinosaurs who are thought to be their ancestral hosts. Crocodiles reside in polluted environments; and often inhabit water which contains heavy metals; frequent exposure to radiation; feed on rotten meat and considered as one of the hardy species that has successfully survived on this planet for millions of years. Another capability that crocodiles possess is their longevity. Crocodiles live much longer than similar-sized land mammals, sometimes living up to 100 years. But how do they withstand such harsh conditions that are detrimental to Homo sapiens? Given the importance of gut microbiome on its' host physiology, we postulate that the crocodile gut microbiome and/or its' metabolites produce substances contributing to their “hardiness” and longevity. Thus, we accomplished literature search in PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar and herein, we discuss the composition of the crocodile gut microbiome, longevity and cellular senescence in crocodiles, their resistance to infectious diseases and cancer, and our current knowledge of the genome and epigenome of these remarkable species. Furthermore, preliminary studies that demonstrate the remarkable properties of crocodile gut microbial flora are discussed. Given the profound role of the gut microbiome in the health of its' host, it is likely that the crocodile gut microbiome and its’ metabolites may be contributing to their extended life expectancy and elucidating the underlying mechanisms and properties of these metabolites may hold clues to developing new treatments for age-related diseases for the benefit of Homo sapiens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08594
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Crocodiles
  • Gut microbiome
  • Longevity
  • Novel metabolites
  • Senescence
  • Anti-cancer
  • Infectious diseases
  • Drug discovery


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