They did not find the grail

Duane Hewitt duane at immortality.org
Fri Jan 31 08:29:46 EST 1997


> Ok heres an argument as to why the aging phenomena can not be slowed to 
> any extensive degree.
> If a gene had occured in any multicelled organism which coded for 
> eternal youth and eternal reproductive status it would quickly 
> proliferate through out life in the same way that genes coding for sexual 
> reproduction have proliferated.
> However as individual cells age they become worn out and cease to 
> function as well as younger cells. Thus the organism as a whole ages. 
> What nature has not evolved is an organism that keeps replacing all the 
> older cells with new ones. However what nature has been able to do is to 
> ensure that old, worn out organisms die after reproducing and raising 
> offspring, by means of a built in stopclock, so as not to cause specific 
> competition with offspring that are potentially capable of more 
> reproduction. To put it another way genes coding for death have occured 
> and proliferated.
> My argument therefor is, if you jam this stopclock the organism will 
> still get old and die. Ok it may live a little longer but immortality is 
> totally out of the question. Remember that if evolution was unable to 
> find a way to make immortal organisms which can reproduce forever what 
> chance do we stand? 
> 
> Chris Swainson (genetics undergraduate)


This argument is flawed because the conditions under which multicellular
organisms evolve favored those that reproduced quickly and in great
number. This may have been done at the expense of later life
(antagonistic  pleitropy<sp?>). The genes that cause aging were not
selected for that purpose but were caused by the decreasing force of
natural selection with age.

I would suggest that you read _The Evolutionary Biology of Aging_ by
Michael Rose in order to get a background in the evolutionary causes of
aging.

Duane Hewitt
duane at immortality.org




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