The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at
Mon Nov 8 08:36:15 EST 1999

Andrew Mason wrote:

> One thing I have wondered is how mitochondria in the ova are protected
> from damage. How is it that 40 year old women can exhibit significant
> signs of aging, yet still produce a perfect baby. Or is the reduced
> fertility and increased incidence of birth defects in older mothers is
> related to higher levels of mitochondrial damage in the ova.

See section 10.3 :-)  This is a very important question -- as you say,
a theory which cannot accommodate the immortality of the germ line is
in serious trouble.  My answer in the book is quite thorough; briefly,
there is evidence for selection at ovulation, as well as for tricks
during early oogenesis which maximise the efficacy of that selection.

Aubrey de Grey

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