Must an AGING PROCESS be universal?

Oliver Bogler obogler at ucsd.edu
Sat Apr 1 16:10:02 EST 1995

In article <grovesa-3103950934440001 at>,
grovesa at starbase1.caltech.edu (Andrew K. Groves) wrote:

> In article <3lgf2r$dui at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, <W.G.VAN.DOORN at ATO.AGRO.NL> wrote:
>  ... I wonder
> > whether immortal cells have been observed. Of course, there are cell lines
> > that keep on multiplying, hence can be considered, for all practical
> > purposes, to be immortal. But have the individual cells in these lines 
> > been followed? ..
> I'm not sure I understand the point you are making. If you found an
> immortalised cell line from a single cell (which is often the case), then
> the cell line that arises must presumably be formed from the progeny of
> that founder, which has therefore, continued to divide. 
> In the animal, there are a number of cell populations that continue to
> divide throughout the life of the animal ...

I agree with Andy - some cells in a lineage must be immortal. This line of
thought tends to  blur the distinction between organisms and species (for
me at least). If you consider the DNA in you, it is a copy of the DNA that
was in the very first human, albeit not an accurate one. It has been
carried from that human to you by an unbroken chain of cells. Of course
most of those cells are dead now, but the chain is unbroken, and so the
lineage is immortal. It is also true that these cells gave rise to many
cells that died along the way, like the gut cells Andy talked about. But
again the lineage is immortal. The same is true of bacteria, except they
don't bother to form complex organism for each generation. One can extend
this argument to all life forms, of course.


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