Premature Ageing

Guy Dunphy GuyD at
Fri Mar 29 08:06:51 EST 1996

grovesa at (Andy Groves) wrote:

>There is a condition known as Werner syndrome that causes people to age at
>an accelerated rate. Sydney Shall (who used to post here occasionally) has
>published tissue culture studies on samples from Werner syndrome patients.
>I reproduce below an abstract from a paper of his from 1993 in PNAS v90

Anyone know if more recent work has examined the condition of the telomeres
in Werner syndrome patients?
Might they have started out shorter than normal in the egg cell, hence the
reduced number of potential cell division cycles?

Isn't it amazing the number of researchers who are looking into telomeres,
'just for the cancer connection'!
What a bunch of funding whimps. Go on, admit it you guys, WE ALL WANT TO BE

Another thought: Given the prime ageing mechanism may be so simple, just a 'bit
of string' that gets shortened till its all gone, then your genes start to fray.
Also, cells have a mechanism for preventing this, but its usually switched off.
Then isn't it possible that small changes in the human genome in the past could
have produced significant (even major) shifts in the species' average lifespan?
Perhaps a viral epidemic, or somesuch, could have produced a widespread sudden
change in the population's telomere related code, and hence a lifespan change?
Now, I'm normally loathe to mention the bible (not a believer, and the whole
religion thing gives me the creeps) but what about the bible story that the
first humans had much longer lifespans, which were reduced after the 'fall'.
Could there be some very old oral legend behind this, and might it have been
Interesting thought. Can anyone think of any fossil record data that would
allow estimation of real 'age at death' of early human fossils? Not just age
estimated by comparison of structure to modern humans. Bones don't have age
rings like trees, do they? And carbon dating gives time from then till now,
not 'lifetime' age.

|   Just when you are starting to figure out whats going on, you die.
|   Guy Dunphy       Sydney, Australia.      Still in my first century.
|   Computer programmer & hardware engineer. Eager to work in genetics field.

PS If you reply to this, _please_ also email a copy to me. My server sucks.


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