Must an AGING PROCESS be universal? was Defining...

Oliver Bogler obogler at ucsd.edu
Tue Mar 28 19:29:44 EST 1995


Hi all,

I've been lurking on this group on and mainly off for a while, and have
posted once in the past. Now that I have a steady internet connection I'd
like to participate a little more.

In article <3ZGevA7CBh107h at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz>,
steve at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz (Steve Chambers) wrote:

> In <199503270809.SAA03440 at sol.ccs.deakin.edu.au> drierac at deakin.edu.au
(Chris driver) writes:
> >I like your analysis so far and agree with most of it. However if all 
> >processes that are deteriorative apply only to some people, there should be 
> >some people to whom none of the deteriorative processes apply..
>
> Many processes WILL be universal.  The second law of thermodynamics is
> a powerful foe and few biological defences offer perfect protection.
> DNA repair isn't perfect; free radical defences aren't either.  Some
> such universal process (or combination thereof) MAY limit the life of 
> the oldest old - or it may not.

When considering ageing as a process of cells, rather than organisms, then
it is clear that some cells, such as bacteria, or parts of organisms,
don't age. The germline is an unbroken lineage going back to the origin of
life, and has been pretty good at keeping DNA replication faithful, and
damage at bay. I think that the possibility that ageing is an active
process that is acquired process of eukaryotic organisms must be
considered. Logically, if not practically, it follows that organisms can
live without ageing. It may however be uneconomical for an organism to use
the same safeguards it uses to protect its germline in all its somatic
cells. Of course the avantages of ageing to populations might mean that
immortal organisms can't evolve and so don't survive. I'm afraid that I
believe that the whole nature of life is to work against the second law of
thermodynamics, and that if it wanted to, it could.




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