By Jan Vijg
Getting older has lengthy on the grounds that been ascribed to the sluggish accumulation of DNA mutations within the genome of somatic cells. even if, it's only lately that the mandatory subtle expertise has been constructed to start trying out this conception and its effects. Vijg seriously stories the concept that of genomic instability as a potential common explanation for getting older within the context of a brand new, holistic knowing of genome functioning in complicated organisms due to fresh advances in useful genomics and platforms biology. It presents an up to date synthesis of present examine, in addition to a glance forward to the layout of suggestions to retard or opposite the deleterious results of getting older. this is often relatively vital in a time after we are urgently attempting to resolve the genetic section of aging-related illnesses. furthermore, there's a becoming public acceptance of the critical of figuring out extra in regards to the underlying biology of getting older, pushed via carrying on with demographic switch.
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Additional info for Aging of the Genome: The Dual Role of DNA in Life and Death
Later, the prediction that higher extrinsic mortality rates lead to the evolution of shorter lifespans in Drosophila was conﬁrmed by directly comparing populations of wild ﬂies under conditions of high and low imposed mortality62. Evidence that different levels of environmental hazards dictate longevity through evolutionary selection has also come from studies of vertebrate animals in the wild. Observations by Steve Austad (San Antonio, TX, USA) on two opossum populations, one on an island not subject to predation and one on the mainland where they were exposed to signiﬁcant predation, conﬁrmed the prediction that the island population had the highest longevity63.
Our increased capacity to handle complex problems in biology whetted appetites for knowing the pathways that control the gradual changes in the structure and function of humans and animals that occur with the passage of time and their relationship with functional decline, disease, and death. In the past, aging was not always considered a serious biological problem. In contrast to a disease, aging was thought to be inevitable, with attempts to intervene in its many adverse effects better left to charlatans trying to interest the public in anti-aging 24 INTRODUCTION products that often lack any rational basis.
While these systems guarantee life’s continuity, there is a price in the form of the doubleedged sword of mutations, the result of erroneous DNA transactions. Mutations are necessary as the ultimate source of genetic variation upon which evolution depends, yet most of them are harmful. We have already seen that mutations with late-life adverse effects but which are neutral at early age are likely to accumulate in the germ line. A high rate of germ-line mutation can lead to population extinction, which may have been the driving force behind the evolution of sex, mate choice, and diploid life cycles, all ways to limit the adverse effects of mutations.