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Is Aging an Accident of Evolution?

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posted on May, 25 2009 @ 07:52 PM
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First a quote from the article ...



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.


The article ...


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.

Full Article Here


Closing statements on the findings ...


“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.”

Full Article Here


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.

What are your thoughts?




posted on May, 25 2009 @ 07:55 PM
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Vitamin c? d? sorry i cant remember but turtles and other animals who live to 100+ quite easily have very large amounts of vitamin c? d? in their blood compared to humans.I think that is the key.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.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 07:59 PM
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reply to post by Solomons
 


haha i completely agree, seeing some of the people who are past 60 and are miserable is just depressing. According to this article they said they could possible pin point the causes of aging and slow it; possibly even stop it.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 08:44 PM
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I think it's good to only live around 100 in this world.

Imagine if we had to live around 1000 years.

It would be good for rich people because they would enjoy more of their money.

But imagine the ones that can barely afford food.

I don't think they could live like that for 1000 years.

There could be more suicides.

I think around 90 years is good enough.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 09:04 PM
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Yeah, but, if we had people living longer, with the eldest and wisest running the show, a lot of the stupid and misinformed decisions that choose other peoples fates, could be stopped.

But, in the current state of the planet and our societies e.t.c, I wouldn't want to live for longer than average. I'm already pretty sick of it



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 09:40 PM
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I think evolution wanted our offspring to produce soon and mix often for genetic diversity. With a bunch of ancient rich guys hogging all the babes the 'mixing of genes' would slow down. So instead most of us die off before that happens.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 09:46 PM
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You should take a look at some of the work Aubrey de Gray is doing. Not only is he very seriously researching how to stop the aging process, but he also has an epic beard.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 09:47 PM
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Aging ties into reproduction, they've found that creatures die sooner if they reproduce early.

I think there was a study that showed that as women have had children later in life, the average age of death has increased.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 09:49 PM
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I am having a little trouble wrapping my mind around this.

I agree that some of it may be genetically acquired. However, I don't believe that is the complete answer and the truth may lie somewhere in-between.

For the last 7 years I have followed the blood type diet. I am 63 and look about 53 and many have told me I look younger. At checkups my HDL cholesterol is off the chart it is so good. My LDL is normal. All lab values are normal. I rarely get sick. No high blood pressure...nothing I need to take meds for to stay healthy. I am small and slim. I drink and smoke yet no lines in my face, just a little sagging.

So I would say what is with all this? Genetics plays a role as my family lives into their late 80's yet I look and act younger than my family at my age. Is some of it a state of mind? Does the blood type diet help? I don't eat things that aren't on the diet. I am type O thus I eat beef but not dairy and rare corn, wheat and potatoes. Many of my friends have age spots. When I got off the diet briefly I got two very small spots on 1 hand and two on my face that have diminished once I got back on the diet.

Anyone else on the blood type diet who has seen a slow down in the aging process?

edit to say...If my mind goes just let me die. What does any of it matter if you can't think.

[edit on 25-5-2009 by liveandlearn]



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 11:45 PM
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Originally posted by ArtMonte
I think evolution wanted our offspring to produce soon and mix often for genetic diversity.


Evolution wants?

How can an impersonal force want anything?



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 11:50 PM
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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.


Sixty is actually fairly young these days. A lot of people live quite well even into their eighties.

Also, ending aging isn't just about extending lifespan regardless of condition. It's ultimately about radical life extension plus age suspension and then age reversal.

Think about living to 2,365 or even 8,745 while having the body of a 24 year old. Imagine the possibilities and opportunities.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 11:54 PM
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Aging is cellular. The more cells, and the more complex the cells and their functions as a group are, the more rapidly aging can occur. (Generally).

In some species, the cells have adapted to last longer through (generally) energy conservation. Such as slow motion, slow metabolism, etc.

So, I'd say no. But then again sponges age differently than we do and they are at the bottom of the evolutionary chain.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 11:59 PM
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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. There is however, another issue overlooked. A food chain is dependent on every rung. If the top were to become so dominant that it wiped out everything else, the species would ironical die from its own superiority.

So I can only assume that written within every genetic code on this planet is a plateau that a species may not exceed and in the event that it does, I also believe there is some fail safe in the code that starts genetically weakening a species in order to sustain the existence of the species collective at the cost of its individual members.

Think about it, in the past, people didn't live long enough to die from heart failure or cancer on a regular basis. The elements were more than enough to cut ones current day lifespan in half. One of the theories on the originations of viruses is that they are expelled genetic material from the early cells. If that is the case (which it may not be as there are numerous other theories that make a good case), maybe they were purposefully expelled in order to keep the cells advancement in check.

As I see it, aging and weakness aren't accidents of evolution, they are actually necessary for survival.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 12:17 AM
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reply to post by ArtMonte
 
Actually, aging has been directly tied to the reproduction process.

There are species of jellyfish that actually grow younger, perpetually.

As they reproduce, they revert to a juvenile form, mature again, reproduce again, until they are killed or eaten.

It can continue for generations without cellular breakdown or 'degeneration.'

"Turitopsis nutricula" have been likened to the Benjamin Buttons of the ocean.

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.
www.telegraph.co.uk...


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.
news.nationalgeographic.com...

jw



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 12:43 AM
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reply to post by jdub297
 



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.


en.wikipedia.org...



So they don't age, can live forever and can ramp up their reproduction at will. If they didn't turn into giant loogies upon reaching land, I think we'd be dethroned.

They also seem to lack any really complex organ structure so It could very well be the specificity and energy consumption of our cells that causes them to age as opposed to the simple jellyfish.

[edit on 26-5-2009 by Eitimzevinten]



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:17 AM
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I think ageing was naturally selected for. To understand why, let's start with a quick recap of how evolution itself evolved.

  1. All organisms must die sooner or later, whether they age or not. Accident and disease ensure this.

  2. So genes cannot depend* for their survival on their own immortality or that of their carriers.

  3. Therefore genes must replicate to survive.

  4. But replication alone is not enough, because an environmental change to which their carriers are not adapted could wipe them all out in one clean sweep. Replication with modification is the only way to ensure that genes can adapt to and survive environmental changes.

  5. Thus evolution by natural selection came into being.

Now imagine that once upon a time, there was no ageing in the world. Dorian Gray organisms competed with one another in the battle for survival. Then one day, a mutation occurred that condemned its carriers to senility and death by ageing.

The species with this new mutation was immediately at a tremendous advantage, for as the environment kept changing, causing its ageless competitors to become ever more maladapted, it was freed by ageing to further mutate and adapt at a much higher rate, thus keeping up much better with environmental change.

Ageless species must eventually die out, no matter how long the lifespan of an individual, because beneficial new genes in its population would be swamped by the proliferation of maladaptive ones, eventually putting an end to the whole lot. Among those that aged, on the other hand, maladaptive genes would quickly be weeded out, allowing the species to live on and eventually beget other species, preserving (with modification) its genes.

Thus the choice is between individual senescence and senescence of the entire species. In the algebra of evolution, it is clear which must win out.

Oh, it was nothing, really...

* * *



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.

This is a common and understandable error. In fact, evolutionary theory does not state this. Species do not 'improve' through evolution; they simply keep adapting to a constantly changing environment. That is what 'survival of the fittest' means: not survival of the fastest, strongest, smartest, biggest or most advanced organisms, but survival of those which are best fitted to their environment. The 'best' organism in respect of today's environment may be the 'worst' in tomorrow's.
 

*Please note (ho hum) that the teleological language I use in this post is just shorthand. Evolution is not a process directed towards any goal: it just happens.

[edit on 26/5/09 by Astyanax]



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:59 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Now imagine that once upon a time, there was no ageing in the world.


It's never been the case that there's been no aging in the world. This post is founded upon fantasy.


[edit on 26-5-2009 by Praetorian Guard]



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 10:39 AM
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Hmmm. Aging is not an accident of evolution. It is a product of modern medical technology. The average human lifespan in biblical times (the time period) was around 43 years old.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 11:18 AM
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reply to post by DaMod
 


i get what you're saying ... you may want to read the article instead of just answering the question in the title
it's a good read and relates the medical field to the aging process and how they could possibly switch it off in the future



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:44 PM
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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.


If we 'turned off' aging so that we wouldn't die from it, then we would start starving to death since the world would soon be over populated. Two solutions are possible:

1- Force sterility among humans (which would eventually lead to our extinction since we would still die of other causes)

2- We start killing each other: We would have to kill 57 million young people each year to compensate if we want to keep things the way they are right now. I'd rather live 50 years and die of natural causes than to live 1000 years and wake up one morning with an arbitrary death sentence.



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