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

Steve Chambers steve at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz
Fri Mar 31 23:45:47 EST 1995


Oliver Bogler (obogler at ucsd.edu) wrote:

> I think that these 100 or more processes are theoretical, and far from
> proven. Some people think that there is more likely to be a master clock
> that regulates ageing, or at least some aspects of it. For example, many
> researchers working on celluar senescence currently favour telomere length
> as the clock that drives senescence. 

They do, and with very little evidence (some might say none) that it 
actually does. 

> In any case people are all biochemically similar: you'd find the same
> processes in all of us. What may differ is the environmental influences we
> encounter. For example, differences in fat content of the diet determines
> the rate of heart disease: people who eat more fat are more likely to have
> heart disease and die of it. 

We may all rely on the same processes, but there's considerable 
variability in how much and how well we use them.  Your heart disease
through fat example illustrates this.  The APOE (apolipoprotein E) gene 
has several alleles but one (e4) is associated with early atherosclerosis
and another (e2) is associated with hyperlipidemia.  Get two copies of
the e3 allele and you'll probably never suffer atherosclerosis no 
matter how much fat you eat.

> But such diseases are not ageing. 

This is exactly the point of my original post.  Why not?

> I think that there is confusion therefore, between ageing, which could
> very well be a single process with pleiotropic effects, and the
> accumulation of environmental wear and tear which is cleary multifactorial

Why should wear and tear processes not be considered aging?  I think you 
may have missed the point - if there are enough of these "second law" and
"imperfect gene" type processes (are certainly more than 100 of these)
then we have no need of a single underlying aging process.  There MAY 
be one, but why should we assume it?  That's not good science.

Steve

-- 
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(I_lurk,_therefore_I_am!_\ ,,,                    Steve Chambers
                          (o o)   steve at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz
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