Must an AGING PROCESS be universal?

Andrew K. Groves grovesa at starbase1.caltech.edu
Thu Apr 27 11:26:45 EST 1995

In article <3no34u$hk9 at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, <W.G.VAN.DOORN at ATO.AGRO.NL> wrote:

> *Would it not be better to use neutral terms for the stages in cell cultures 
> *like a) dividing, b) quiescent, c) nondividing, and d) perpetually dividing, 
> *or any other set of terms that just describes the facts.

I cannot see the difference between b) and c).

Quiescent cells normally exist in two types of culture conditions - when
the cells are confluent and not dividing, or when the cells have been
deprived of mitogens and are not dividing. Quiescent cells rest in the G0
phase of the cell cycle. Senescent cells, on the other hand, arrest in
both G1 and G2 of the cell cycle (although it's difficult to prove
definitively that cells are in G2 as opposed to being in G1 and

I have no problems with using the term 'immortal' for cell growth studies,
so long as it is well defined. It doesn't matter whether the 'lay
person's" definiton of the word is different. In fact there are many
biological terms like that. A while back I posted a cell biologist's
definiton of of the terms 'senescent'. 'quiescent', 'immortal' and
'transformed'. These terms are generally accepted and are in common use by
people in the field. I see no reason to chamge them.


Andy Groves
Division of Biology, 216-76
California Institute of Technology

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