By Jan Vijg
Getting older has lengthy considering the fact that been ascribed to the slow accumulation of DNA mutations within the genome of somatic cells. in spite of the fact that, it is just lately that the mandatory refined know-how has been constructed to start checking out this concept and its effects. Vijg significantly stories the concept that of genomic instability as a potential common reason for getting older within the context of a brand new, holistic knowing of genome functioning in complicated organisms caused by contemporary advances in sensible genomics and structures biology. It presents an updated synthesis of present learn, in addition to a glance forward to the layout of ideas to retard or opposite the deleterious results of getting older. this is often relatively vital in a time once we are urgently attempting to resolve the genetic part of aging-related illnesses. in addition, there's a growing to be public acceptance of the central of figuring out extra in regards to the underlying biology of getting older, pushed by way of carrying on with demographic swap.
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Extra resources for Aging of the Genome: The Dual Role of DNA in Life and Death
It simply means that in biology generalizations are often based on inadequate or incomplete theories. The correlation between high extrinsic mortality and short lifespans may be a consequence of the trade-off most organisms face between investment in somatic maintenance and reproductive effort. This was ﬁrst recognized by Tom Kirkwood and formulated in his disposable soma theory of aging9, already mentioned in Chapter 1. This theory predicts that high extrinsic mortality would favor investment of scarce resources in early 34 THE LOGIC OF AGING reproduction rather than somatic maintenance and repair, which would not be required for a population with a low risk of survival in the wild.
Can we use these same approaches to unlock the secrets of aging? And will that give us the means to develop interventions to ultimately halt its devastating effects? 4 The causes of aging: a random affair What is aging? For practical reasons aging can be deﬁned as a series of time-related processes occurring in the adult individual that ultimately bring life to a close. Aging is the most complex phenotype currently known and the only example of generalized biological dysfunction. Its effects become manifest in all organs and tissues.
Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and cellular senescence, irreversible mitotic arrest, are both critical processes for suppressing tumorigenesis in mammals78. Both responses are highly conserved in eukaryotic organisms also for reasons other than suppressing cancer. Apoptosis, for example, plays an essential role in embryonic development and also later in maintaining normal tissue homeostasis. As ﬁrst realized by Judith Campisi (Berkeley, CA, USA), in mammals both apoptosis and cellular senescence are likely to be antagonistically pleiotropic, since they help to suppress cancer at early age, but possibly at the cost of promoting aging at later ages by exhausting progenitor- or stem-cell reservoirs79.