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Everyone has assumed we age by rust. But how do you explain animals that don't age? Some tortoises lay eggs at the age of 100, there are whales that live to be 200 and clams that make it past 400 years.
Prevailing theory of aging challenged by Stanford University Medical School researchers. Their discovery contradicts the prevailing theory that aging is a buildup of tissue damage similar to rust. The Stanford findings suggest specific genetic instructions drive the process. If they are right, science might one day find ways of switching the signals off and halting or even reversing aging.
The question of what causes aging has spawned competing schools, with one side claiming that inborn genetic programs make organisms grow old. This theory has had trouble gaining traction because it implies that aging evolved, that natural selection pushed older organisms down a path of deterioration. However, natural selection works by favoring genes that help organisms produce lots of offspring. After reproduction ends, genes are beyond natural selection’s reach, so scientists argued that aging couldn’t be genetically programmed.
The alternate, competing theory holds that aging is an inevitable consequence of accumulated wear and tear: toxins, free-radical molecules, DNA-damaging radiation, disease and stress ravage the body to the point it can’t rebound. So far, this theory has dominated aging research.
But the Stanford team’s findings told a different story. “Our data just didn’t fit the current model of damage accumulation, and so we had to consider the alternative model of developmental drift,” Kim said.
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“A free radical doesn’t care if it’s in a human cell or a worm cell,” Kim said.
If aging is not a cost of unavoidable chemistry but is instead driven by changes in regulatory genes, the aging process may not be inevitable. It is at least theoretically possible to slow down or stop developmental drift.
“The take-home message is that aging can be slowed and managed by manipulating signaling circuits within cells,” said Marc Tatar, PhD, a professor of biology and medicine at Brown University who was not involved in the research. “This is a new and potentially powerful circuit that has just been discovered for doing that.”
Kim added, “It’s a new way to think about how to slow the aging process.”
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Originally posted by ArtMonte
I think evolution wanted our offspring to produce soon and mix often for genetic diversity.
Originally posted by Solomons
But in all honesty,given my genetics and how people related to me have aged.I'd like to die around the age of 60.Past that is just not a decent life given what i have seen in older family members.
The Turritopsis Nutricula is able to revert back to a juvenile form once it mates after becoming sexually mature.
Marine biologists say the jellyfish numbers are rocketing because they need not die.
A potentially "immortal" jellyfish species that can age backward—the Benjamin Button of the deep—is silently invading the world's oceans, swarm by swarm, a recent study says.
Jellyfish appear to know when their species is in danger and reproduce exponentially, as was testified after Japanese fleets used metal nets to shred through jellyfish swarms.
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Originally posted by Eitimzevinten
I believe there's an aspect of evolution that's a bit counter-intuitive. The idea is that any species always improves through evolution and in a demanding environment this must happen inorder for a species to survive.
Originally posted by Astyanax
Now imagine that once upon a time, there was no ageing in the world.
Wow what an interesting concept. I think this would be mind blowing if they would be able to pin point the places that make you age. and possibly turn them off. If this would occur, I think we would truly experience the full blown survival of the fittest.