HELP // Rates of Ageing : genetically predetermined or environmentally dependant ?

Patrick patrick at
Sun Apr 28 13:55:42 EST 1996

> My name is Leon Varkel and I am studying 1st year medicine at the University of Cape Town in 
> South Africa. I have an assignment of 10-12 pages on the subject : Rates of Ageing, genetically 
> predetermined or environmentally dependant ? I have searched for hours on both the internet 

I have been sweating my graduate prelims and one of the topics I am 
working on is mitochondrial oxidation damage and aging.  One area that 
has pumped out a lot of papers over the last 10 years, in particular, is 
the role of oxidation in aging.  For instance, Drosophila transgenic for 
overexpression of human cytosolic Cu,Zn-SOD and catalaze life up to 30% 
longer than normal flies...and their physical activity measures, used to 
track rate of aging to a certain extent, are spread such that older flies 
are similar to younger flies.  

In addition, try looking for references to the gene called Age1 or Age-1 (or 
something along these lines).  There may also me new members of this 
class of gene as well.  Age1 appears to be involved, directly or 
indirectly, in the aging process in nematodes.  Knock out the gene and 
the worm lives up to 50% longer.  

In both cases, oxidative damage accumulation or gene knockout, it is not 
really possible to seperate out the genetic components from the 
environmental components as yet.  Oxidative damage screws up membranes, 
proteins, and DNA, any of which can lead to further problems.


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