Can a cell grow new mitochondria after they have been damaged by free radicals?

Tom Matthews tmatth at
Fri Aug 7 13:59:22 EST 1998

ufotruth at (William) wrote:
> On 7 Aug 1998 05:00:44 GMT, sbharris at B. Harris)
> wrote:

> >    But since there are many immortal examples of plants, polyps,
> >fungi, protozoa, bacteria, etc (though some of all of these classes of
> >organism age, others don't), it's hardly descriptive to say that finite
> >life span wins out over indefinate life span always.  Rather, this is
> >only true (by definition, partly), for creatures with a CNS.  A CNS has
> >to have a finite life span due to nondividing cells.  If it has
> >dividing cells, the memories are gone, and you couldn't say the same
> >individual organism "survived," in that situation.   Notice the
> Well, if your brain cells only regenerated when a cell died and then
> replaced the cell that died it seems like your memory would stay
> intact.

Current neuroscience understanding suggests that the brain cells
themselves are only the information processsors or transponders in the
brain (all relatively similar to one another). The brain
interconnections are where memory, personality and identity lie. As we
now understand the organization of the brain and the maintenance of
memory in it, simple cell division/replacement would not maintain that
organization without some very specialized manipulations of neuronal
connections congruent with such cell division/replacement. 

> >problem: for organisms without a brain, what defines the "organism" is
> >its cellular physical continuity (connectedness of cells to eatch
> >other) and the same DNA code which each cell shares.  But if you have a
> >brain, what defines you as an individual organism is your memories.
> You are correct. If you are an organism what makes you unique is your
> memories, experiances, personality, etc.

No. Every different organism is truely unique from every other because
of development from a DNA "recipe" (not a blueprint which specifies the
exact location of every molecule - as Steve Harris has pointed out).
However, it is only for organisms with "significant" mental abilities
that we normally make a distinction between organisms with the same DNA
or even of the same subspecies. Some humans go further and count as
unique, and individually precious, every living organism. Some go the
other way, quite ignoring the value of individual humans in favor of
species, self, or "germline" survival. To a certain extent, those
against the extension of maximum human lifespan think in this latter
manner. Strangely enough, most people appear to engage in both modes of
thought at the same time, applying the first to warm fuzzy animals and
the second to horrid humans.

Tom Matthews
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