Researchers identify a potentially universal mechanism of aging

November 26, 2008

Like our current financial crisis, the aging process might also be a product excessive deregulation. Researchers have discovered that DNA damage decreases a cell's ability to regulate which genes are turned on and off in particular settings. This mechanism, which applies both to fungus and to us, might represent a universal culprit for aging.

"This is the first potentially fundamental, root cause of aging that we've found," says Harvard Medical School professor of pathology David Sinclair. "There may very well be others, but our finding that aging in a simple yeast cell is directly relevant to aging in mammals comes as a surprise."

These findings appear in the November 28 issue of the journal Cell.

For some time, scientists have know that a group of genes called sirtuins are involved in the aging process. These genes, when stimulated by either the red-wine chemical resveratrol or caloric restriction, appear to have a positive effect on both aging and health.

Nearly a decade ago, Sinclair and colleagues in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab of Leonard Guarente found that a particular sirtuin in yeast affected the aging process in two specific ways—it helped regulate gene activity in cells and repair breaks in DNA. As DNA damage accumulated over time, however, the sirtuin became too distracted to properly regulate gene activity, and as a result, characteristics of aging set in.

"For ten years, this entire phenomenon in yeast was considered to be relevant only to yeast," says Sinclair. "But we decided to test of this same process occurs in mammals."

Philipp Oberdoerffer, a postdoctoral scientist in Sinclair's Harvard Medical School lab, used a sophisticated microarray platform to probe the mammalian version of the yeast sirtuin gene in mouse cells. The results in mice corroborated what Sinclair, Guarente, and colleagues had found in yeast ten years earlier.

Oberdoerffer found that a primary function of sirtuin in the mammalian system was to oversee patterns of gene expression (which genes are switch on and which are switch off). While all genes are present in all cells, only a select few need to be active at any given time. If the wrong genes are switched on, this can harm the cell. (In a kidney cell, for example, all liver genes are present, but switched off. If these genes were to become active, that could damage the kidney.) As a protective measure, sirtuins guard genes that should be off and ensure that they remain silent. To do this, they help preserve the molecular packaging—called chromatin—that shrink-wraps these genes tight and keeps them idle.

The problem for the cell, however, is that the sirtuin has another important job. When DNA is damaged by UV light or free radicals, sirtuins act as volunteer emergency responders. They leave their genomic guardian posts and aid the DNA repair mechanism at the site of damage.

During this unguarded interval, the chromatin wrapping may start to unravel, and the genes that are meant to stay silent may in fact come to life.

For the most part, sirtuins are able to return to their post and wrap the genes back in their packaging, before they cause permanent damage. As mice age, however, rates of DNA damage (typically caused by degrading mitochondria) increase. The authors found that this damage pulls sirtuins away from their posts more frequently. As a result, deregulation of gene expression becomes chronic. Chromatin unwraps in places where it shouldn't, as sirtuin guardians work overtime putting out fires around the genome, and the unwrapped genes never return to their silent state.

In fact, many of these haplessly activated genes are directly linked with aging phenotypes. The researchers found that a number of such unregulated mouse genes were persistently active in older mice.

"We then began wondering what would happen if we put more of the sirtuin back into the mice," says Oberdoerffer. "Our hypothesis was that with more sirtuins, DNA repair would be more efficient, and the mouse would maintain a youthful pattern gene expression into old age."

That's precisely what happened. Using a mouse genetically altered to model lymphoma, Oberdoerffer administered extra copies of the sirtuin gene, or fed them the sirtuin activator resveratrol, which in turn extended their mean lifespan by 24 to 46 percent.

"It is remarkable that an aging mechanism found in yeast a decade ago, in which sirtuins redistribute with damage or aging, is also applicable to mammals," says Leonard Guarente, Novartis Professor of Biology at MIT, who is not an author on the paper. "This should lead to new approaches to protect cells against the ravages of aging by finding drugs that can stabilize this redistribution of sirtuins over time."

Both Sinclair and Oberdoerffer agree with Guarente's sentiment that these findings may have therapeutic relevance.

"According to this specific mechanism, while DNA damage exacerbates aging, the actual cause is not the DNA damage itself but the lack of gene regulation that results," says Oberdoerffer. "Lots of research has shown that this particular process of regulating gene activity, otherwise known as epigenetics, can be reversed—unlike actual mutations in DNA. We see here, through a proof-of-principal demonstration, that elements of aging can be reversed."

Recent findings by Chu-Xia Deng of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, has also found that mice that lack sirtuin are susceptible to DNA damage and cancer, reinforcing Sinclair's and Oberdoerffer's data.

Citation: Cell, November 28, 2008 Volume 135, Issue 6

Source: Harvard Medical School

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superhuman
1.3 / 5 (19) Nov 26, 2008
Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.
gmurphy
5 / 5 (16) Nov 26, 2008
accept your fate?, lie down and die?, no f**king way. If humanity had simply accepted the natural order we'd still be hunting antelope on the Serengeti
Ant
1.4 / 5 (5) Nov 26, 2008
isnt the real candidate TIME? or maybe its a relationship with the amounr of sex (women seem to grow old very quickly once married. I must say that for 64 I beleive I look very young.
VOR
5 / 5 (7) Nov 26, 2008
lifespan is relative. anyone who thinks it unnatural to live healthy to 1000 or more is welcome to die earlier. The benefits of longer life to society and individuals far outweigh the risks. Overpopulation would potentially be a more serious problem than it is now.
Mauricio
5 / 5 (7) Nov 26, 2008
From a theological perspective, we are here for a reason> Some people want to die fast, it is their business, but others want to live as long as possible. The ones who want to die fast have a problem with that, they don't understand how some people like life, even when there is suffering and abundance of evil.....

This kind of research is obviously good for the group that wants to live longer, it is very important indeed.
sleidia
5 / 5 (7) Nov 27, 2008
Yeah, doing research for people who want to live longer won't prevent the others from dying earlier as they wish.

And I feel very sad when I see old photos/movies of those extraordinary people who died decades/centuries ago. Such a waste.
superhuman
1 / 5 (8) Nov 27, 2008
accept your fate?, lie down and die?, no f**king way. If humanity had simply accepted the natural order we'd still be hunting antelope on the Serengeti


Did I state you should accept your fate?

I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.

The only reason we don't die much faster is that this program is of low priority and in natural environment predators and diseases took care to finish us off quickly.

The cells could easily keep us alive much longer, but that is not desirable from evolutionary point of view. It is much better to mate quickly and die as it leads to faster evolution and higher chances of survival in the ever changing environment.

One proof that aging and death are not just malfunctions is the presence of apoptosis - a programmed cell death - in unicellular organisms like baker's yeast. This is a perfect example that (from evolutionary perspective) it makes more sense to breed and die then to live forever.

BTW do you realize that if we finally find ways to significantly extend human life it will surely lead to a global conflict?
Everyone will want to live longer, but the Earth wont be able to support us all.

For example if it were now possible to cheaply extend average lifetime to 3 times its current values human population would at least triple.
That assumes current birthrates could be kept but with all that extra time people would actually want to have more offspring.
All this will lead to extreme social pressures and in all probability another global conflict.

Eventually all breeding will be strictly regulated with no more then 1 children per person per lifetime. To have more you will need to buy the rights from others.
morpheus2012
2 / 5 (2) Nov 27, 2008
yeah aubrey the grey is fithing to defeat aging

with is no more then a deases a genetic program

i fu want that done in ur lifetime join him

http://www.mprize.com
D666
5 / 5 (3) Nov 27, 2008
Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.


Sez who?
D666
3 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2008

I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.


Again, sez who? This article seems to directly contradict you. So the question becomes: what is your source of authority to make this declaration with such certainty? Because you say so? Not good enough.

HenisDov
1 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2008
Unbelievable: A Potentially Universal Mechanism Of Aging!


A. Latest News: A Potentially Universal Mechanism Of Aging
http://www.eureka...1908.php

"Researchers have discovered that DNA damage decreases a cell's ability to regulate which genes are turned on and off in particular settings. This mechanism, which applies both to fungus and to us, might represent a universal culprit for aging. "


B. Universal mechanism of aging has been explained earlier...

Predicting Chronological And Physiological Age Is Complicated
http://www.the-sc...age#1077

Genes Are Organisms And Age, Too...
http://www.the-sc...page#900


Dov Henis

(A DH Comment From The 22nd Century)
http://blog.360.y...Q--?cq=1
MongHTan,PhD
1 / 5 (4) Nov 27, 2008
RE: How to catch a Dawkinsian nihilist par excellence!?

Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.


Sez who?

I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.


Again, sez who? This article seems to directly contradict you. So the question becomes: what is your source of authority to make this declaration with such certainty? Because you say so? Not good enough.


Good catches; my scientific and critical erudition suggests that it may come from a "blind reader" of Richard Dawkins' works -- works of pure Evolutionism, a neo-Darwinist rhetorical reductionism -- the Dawkinsian Scientism of the 20th century par excellence originated from the Oxford University (since the publication of his first book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976)!?

Best wishes, Mong 11/27/8usct12:49p; author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), "Gods, Genes, Conscience" (2006: www.iuniverse.com...95379907 ) and "Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now" (blogging avidly since 2006: http://www2.blogg...50569778 ).
Paradox
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2008
Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.


eh? I think that there is a lot more to it than that. Biologically, there is no need for you to die to "make room for the next generation".
What about the human brain that has EVOLVED to solve problems. One of those problems would be how to live longer, in order to pass along the knowledge of survival to as many succeeding generations as possible. That gives those generations a better chance to succeed themselves.
Damon_Hastings
5 / 5 (5) Nov 28, 2008
I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.


A lot of us agree with you that death is mandated by evolution (an immortal species could never evolve through natural selection, since "selection" requires that the un-selected die.)

But I think the point gmurphy was trying to make is: who gives a ^&%# what evolution mandates? We will have the power to override it. And, yes, exercising that power may cause a host of problems -- overpopulation, famine, war, etc. But we'll do it anyway; you *know* we will. ;-)

You can debate the wisdom of eliminating aging, but you cannot debate its inevitability. Whether a hundred years from now or a thousand, at some point in the future aging will exist only among those who choose it. And I'd wager there will be strict population controls.
D666
5 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2008
A lot of us agree with you that death is mandated by evolution (an immortal species could never evolve through natural selection, since "selection" requires that the un-selected die.)


I very strongly agree with almost everything you said -- except this part. It sounds like you are confusing "non-aging" with "unkillable". Even non-aging beasties will die, just not from old age. It might slow down the evolutionary process, but that's all.

superhuman
1.8 / 5 (4) Nov 28, 2008
RE: How to catch a Dawkinsian nihilist par excellence!?
(...)
Good catches; my scientific and critical erudition suggests that it may come from a "blind reader" of Richard Dawkins' works -- works of pure Evolutionism, a neo-Darwinist rhetorical reductionism -- the Dawkinsian Scientism of the 20th century par excellence originated from the Oxford University (since the publication of his first book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976)!?


I've never read anything Dawkins wrote, if anyone deserves credit its Charles Darwin, the rest is pretty stightforward.
superhuman
1 / 5 (3) Nov 28, 2008
Not good enough.

Sez who?
D666
4 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2008
Not good enough.

Sez who?


hah hah. Very ironic. However, it's not a symmetrical situation. Presumably, you are posting comments because you want to convince people of your POV (I suppose I could be wrong on that, but then why...). If you argue in a non-convincing manner, for instance by simply making adamant imperative statements, you're basically wasting electrons.

I on the other hand, wasn't trying to convince you of anything -- merely trying to point out that *you* have failed to be convincing. Thus, not symmetrical.
superhuman
1 / 5 (4) Nov 29, 2008
As far as questioning authority goes the situation is symmetrical.

I am not trying to convince people I only provide another perspective to counter the popular view presented in the press namely that aging is deregulation or just damage accumulation.

Either the explanation makes sense to you or it doesn't my authority is not relevant.

I very strongly agree with almost everything you said -- except this part. It sounds like you are confusing "non-aging" with "unkillable". Even non-aging beasties will die, just not from old age. It might slow down the evolutionary process, but that's all.


This would not work as quite often it is resources that limit population growth not predators or diseases. In such a situation an organism without programmed death would compete with his own offspring which would naturally give incentive to produce weaker offspring and in turn quickly lead to evolutionary dead end. Aging and death are required for evolution to work well.

There is a well defined optimal lifespan which depends both on organism and its environment, thats why a mouse will live up to 5 years while a whale can exceed 200. Both are mammals, so their cells have to be very similar yet their longevity is so much different.

Our cells have the capacity to live very long, but instead they choose to die early to better their evolutionary success.

In fact cancer can be seen as cells rebelling against this "groupthink" and refusing to die, choosing instead to focus on their own good to the detriment of the organism as a whole.
(This should not be taken too literally of course, cells are not humans)

eh? I think that there is a lot more to it than that. Biologically, there is no need for you to die to "make room for the next generation".

Limited resources impose that need. Even if we assume its not true for humans now it has been during most of our evolution so this assumption is "built into" us and all other life.

Once your children reach sexual maturity it should be them breeding not you otherwise you will be competing with them. Once you don't breed and are done with bringing up your offspring your time is up.
Who gives a ^&%# what evolution mandates?

While the real reason for aging might not matter for most of you it should for those who are serious about trying to find the solution. Understanding the problem is the first step to solving it.
MongHTan,PhD
1 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2008
RE: Let's not mixing up "Dawkinsism" with "Darwinism"!

RE: How to catch a Dawkinsian nihilist par excellence!?
(...)
Good catches; my scientific and critical erudition suggests that it may come from a "blind reader" of Richard Dawkins' works -- works of pure Evolutionism, a neo-Darwinist rhetorical reductionism -- the Dawkinsian Scientism of the 20th century par excellence originated from the Oxford University (since the publication of his first book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976)!?


I've never read anything Dawkins wrote, if anyone deserves credit its Charles Darwin, the rest is pretty straightforward.


Did Darwin research and/or write about "aging" and "death" in his lifetime?

Or are you just one of the neo-Darwinists -- like Dawkins -- when he was challenged with a specific "gene" theory question, he would run away by taking a cover under Darwinism!?

Sez who? -- please see my recent analyses here: http://www.physfo...pic=6365]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]&view=findpost&p=381089 (October 12, 2008); here: http://www.physfo...pic=6365]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]&view=findpost&p=339579 (May 11, 2008) and here: http://www.physfo...pic=6365]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]]http://www.physfo...pic=6365[/url]&view=findpost&p=330762 (April 7, 2008) -- I listed the dates of my posts, in case these specific URL links are to be truncated by this entry field herein.

Best wishes, Mong, author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), "Gods, Genes, Conscience" (2006: www.iuniverse.com...95379907 ) and "Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now" (blogging avidly since 2006: http://www2.blogg...50569778 ).
MongHTan,PhD
1 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2008
Yap, the long links were all truncated; so please go to the main link here: http://www.physfo...pic=6365 and look for my October 12, 2008 post on page 103; May 11, 2008 on page 68; and April 7, 2008 on page 54.

Best wishes, Mong 11/29/8usct2:06p; author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), "Gods, Genes, Conscience" (2006: www.iuniverse.com...95379907 ) and "Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now" (blogging avidly since 2006: http://www2.blogg...50569778 ).
MorituriMax
2.5 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2008
superhuman said, "However, it's not a symmetrical situation. Presumably, you are posting comments because you want to convince people of your POV"

Actually, I think he is posting because he DISAGREES with YOUR POV.

I think Evolution is a process that goes on in the natural world, but it isn't any more of an obstacle to us than any other process in nature.

After all, if we go by the logic that unnatural things shouldn't exist, then we need to tear down all our skyscrapers, get rid of computers, live in caves and hunt animals with spears.

Aging is one more thing people can eliminate as a danger to ourselves. If we ever manage to get off the planet with its limited resources, who cares about overpopulation?
forsaken
3.3 / 5 (3) Nov 30, 2008
If life-extension treatments, pills or whatever were extremely expensive then only few would benefit from it, and the overpopulation issue will not exist. I know this sounds unfair but since when was the world fair?

Just look att Da Vinci, this guy died before he could finish all his ideas, he would certanily contribute from an extension of his life.

acarrilho
5 / 5 (4) Nov 30, 2008
I think overcoming natural death will be just another paradigm shift in human evolution. Living indefinitely may change people's perspective where "offspring" is concerned. "Being here to have children" is already not MY purpose, regardless of what "nature" has to say about it.
Wasabi
not rated yet Nov 30, 2008
When medical science does reach a point that human life extension becomes science fact. Issues such as over-population will eventually be rectified by some of that future population relocating into space. Sounds far-fetched now perhaps, but humanity will absolutely find a way; Of that I have overwhelming confidence in our ability to persevere in the face of great challenge.
JonH
5 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2008
anyone who does not see that the curing of aging is just around the corner is simply not an intelligent and analytical person. Aging will be completely reversable within 40 years (obviously these sort of treatments will only be available for those who can afford them!). As for anticipated problems such as over-population, just know that if the population-density of the world was that of Manhattan in New York City, the world would have about 3.7 trillion people.
Bob_B
not rated yet Nov 30, 2008
Any "drug" to prevent or slow aging will only put more people in prison. That type of "drug" would be a performance enhancing substance. This gives unfair advantages to those that can afford them and when caught users can be put in prison or fined heavily.
superhuman
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2008
superhuman said, "However, it's not a symmetrical situation. Presumably, you are posting comments because you want to convince people of your POV"


Actually, I think he is posting because he DISAGREES with YOUR POV.


You confused who said what.
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
As for anticipated problems such as over-population, just know that if the population-density of the world was that of Manhattan in New York City, the world would have about 3.7 trillion people.


In this scenario more then 3 trillion people die of starvation within a year.
superhuman
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2008
anyone who does not see that the curing of aging is just around the corner is simply not an intelligent and analytical person. Aging will be completely reversable within 40 years


Also making wild guesses about things you have no idea about has nothing to do with being intelligent or analytical, to the contrary in fact.

The same kind of thinking saw us colonizing the Solar System by year 2000.

We have no clue how aging works, just some very vague leads. Besides finding how it works is the easy part, tweaking live humans to make necessary changes is incomparably more challenging. So it might take 10 years or it might take 100 years, or it might prove completely impractical.
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
Did Darwin research and/or write about "aging" and "death" in his lifetime?


No, I did, but my views are based on Darwin's brilliant Theory of Evolution so I am happy to give him credit, its one of the most powerful frameworks ever developed by humans.

Or are you just one of the neo-Darwinists!?


I don't know or care what neo-Darwinism stands for, I also don't appreciate people who have to label others first in order to comprehend what they have to say.

If you want to add something to the discussion just type it (or copy it) instead of quoting random posts.

And the links will be broken if you edit your post after posting it.
CreepyD
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
Elimating aging would be a very dangerous thing to do, at least until we are able to leave our planet.
Maybe more money should be spent on helping people LIVE, rather than just staying alive longer.
marjon
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
What deregulation?

The US government has distorted the economy in so many ways. Maybe bad regulations would be a better descriptor.
marjon
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
That's all we need, more narcissistic baby boomers living longer.
forsaken
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2008
Like i said before, if anti-ageing treatments will be (imo) very expensive and only few will afford. If a smaller portion of the entire humanity will achieve longevity then there is no problem, right?
But if these things will cost as much as your ordinary vitamin supplement, then we have a problem...
MGraser
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
I don't think anyone's talking about immortality here, just an increase in life span. People used to only live to about 40 and now live to 80. If it were doubled to 160, that doesn't automatically mean it's unsustainable. There will be a tipping point, but I think you tackle problems once you know there will be a problem (and you can plan ahead when you know there's a potential problem) rather than avoiding something because something unknown might happen.

Regarding overpopulation, birth restriction is the most likely solution. It would slow down growth enough so that, eventually, people will live off planet.
D666
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
superhuman said, "However, it's not a symmetrical situation. Presumably, you are posting comments because you want to convince people of your POV"

Actually, I think he is posting because he DISAGREES with YOUR POV.


Well, first of all you got the attributions wrong. *I* said that, not him. Secondly, it's difficult to see how he could disagree with my POV when he posted first, and the post you referenced was in response to that. Perhaps he's psychic?
MongHTan,PhD
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2008
RE: Point of clarification: Dawkinsism vs. Darwinism

Did Darwin research and/or write about "aging" and "death" in his lifetime?


No, I did, but my views are based on Darwin's brilliant Theory of Evolution so I am happy to give him credit, its one of the most powerful frameworks ever developed by humans.

Are you a gerontologist or geriatrist in training?

How could Darwinism of the 19th century be related to Gerontology of the 20th century?

Aren%u2019t your statements about Aging and Death self-contradictory to those raised by D666 (and also commented by me) before?

We have no clue how aging works, just some very vague leads.


Versus
RE: How to catch a Dawkinsian nihilist par excellence!?

Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.


Sez who?

I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.


Again, sez who? This article seems to directly contradict you. So the question becomes: what is your source of authority to make this declaration with such certainty? Because you say so? Not good enough.


Good catches; my scientific and critical erudition suggests that it may come from a "blind reader" of Richard Dawkins' works -- works of pure Evolutionism, a neo-Darwinist rhetorical reductionism -- the Dawkinsian Scientism of the 20th century par excellence originated from the Oxford University (since the publication of his first book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976)!?


Furthermore,

Or are you just one of the neo-Darwinists!?


I don't know or care what neo-Darwinism stands for, I also don't appreciate people who have to label others first in order to comprehend what they have to say.[1]

If you want to add something to the discussion just type it (or copy it) instead of quoting random posts.

And the links will be broken if you edit your post after posting it.[2]


1] If you are a 'true' scientist (biologist or gerontologist), how could you not care about neo-Darwinism vs. Darwinism?

The way you presented your case (Aging, Death, Darwinism, etc) reminded me (and/or other readers) of Dawkinsism that I have had recently analyzed: As Richard Dawkins is a pseudo-scientist, a neo-Darwinist or Darwinian reductionist or fundamentalist or dogmatist par excellence at Oxford (UK)!

2] No, I didn't edit the long URL links after posting them; I just noticed that the PhysOrg.com has been recently decoupled and incompatible with that of the PhysForum.com (although they may be still run by the same Administration)!?

If you are interested -- even if you're not a neo-Darwinist -- you should read what I have to say about Dawkinsism vs. Darwinism in those PhysForum.com posts that I referenced above.

Best wishes, Mong 12/1/8usct2:28p; author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), "Gods, Genes, Conscience" (2006: www.iuniverse.com...95379907 ) and "Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now" (blogging avidly since 2006: http://www2.blogg...50569778 ).
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 02, 2008
Are you a gerontologist or geriatrist in training?

Jeez, more labels. Why do you have to know my specialty? What difference does it make?

How could Darwinism of the 19th century be related to Gerontology of the 20th century?

I explained above how, the theory of evolution is what my arguments are based on. While in its modern form it might differ somewhat from what was first proposed by Darwin its still him who deserves most credit.

Aren't your statements about Aging and Death self-contradictory to those raised by D666 (and also commented by me) before?
We have no clue how aging works, just some very vague leads.

Versus
Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.



No, they are not contradictory. We have no clue how aging works *on molecular level* but the fact that we are products of evolution implies, and I tried to explain above how, that we have a program which actively regulates our lifespan, and that it is not just an accumulation of passive errors.

The situation is analogous to not knowing the details of how a particular engine works but still being able to predict its maximal efficiency solely from thermodynamic principles.

The details may vary but the descriptive power of thermodynamics allows us to make predictions which will hold anyway.

The same holds for evolution and biology, molecular biology is bound by evolution so we can make inferences even without knowing all the details.

1] If you are a 'true' scientist (biologist or gerontologist), how could you not care about neo-Darwinism vs. Darwinism?

I don't care about labels, but since you question my scientific integrity I had to look it up.
I agree with modern evolutionary synthesis as explained in the section of article linked below, if thats what you mean by neo-Darwinism then yes, I completely agree with it.
http://en.wikiped...ynthesis

Depending how the "gene" is defined I may or may not agree with Dawkins' view that "gene is the only true unit of selection".

In my view all information passed between generations which can be replicated is subject to natural selection in its broadest sense (although the vast majority of it has no effect).

However this is a broader sense that is usually assumed when talking about this subject, if we restrict ourselves to biology then both DNA, RNA, proteins (prion like ones) and other as yet unidentified elements which can self propagate can serve as "genes" and undergo natural selection.

That said only DNA and in a few rare cases RNA seems to play a significant role in life as we know it so the rest can be ignored.

As Richard Dawkins is a pseudo-scientist, a neo-Darwinist or Darwinian reductionist or fundamentalist or dogmatist par excellence at Oxford (UK)!


So does this title apply to me too now?
Should I feel bad about being a neo-Darwinist?


No, I didn't edit the long URL links after posting them;

Just editing the post that contains links after posting it will brake the links. The links are not properly copied into the edit window once you hit edit, thats what breaks them.


If you are interested -- even if you're not a neo-Darwinist -- you should read what I have to say about Dawkinsism vs. Darwinism in those PhysForum.com posts that I referenced above.


I checked one of those post but was unable to find anything concerning this topic, once again if you want to add something just type it or copy it here.
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 02, 2008
Like i said before, if anti-ageing treatments will be (imo) very expensive and only few will afford. If a smaller portion of the entire humanity will achieve longevity then there is no problem, right?


While it may solve overpopulation problem to some extent it will certainly lead to extreme social tensions.

Faced with a choice between death and measures which although drastic might significantly prolong your life the choice is simple.
The privileged class will have to take extreme measures to protect themselves so the social landscape won't be pretty and democracy might not make it.
forsaken
1 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2008
While it may solve overpopulation problem to some extent it will certainly lead to extreme social tensions.


Totally agree. I wonder how the society would actually react, maybe the reaction wouldn't be so dramatic after all.
acarrilho
5 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2008
Honestly, I don't see the big change in "social awareness". People are already dropping like flies on several parts of the planet, and we don't refuse medicine because they can't afford any, nor can they do anything about it, no matter how unfair it is. I don't think the really unprivileged can get angrier than they already are, and they should already be as angry as they can get.
superhuman
4 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2008
Honestly, I don't see the big change in "social awareness". People are already dropping like flies on several parts of the planet, and we don't refuse medicine because they can't afford any, nor can they do anything about it, no matter how unfair it is. I don't think the really unprivileged can get angrier than they already are, and they should already be as angry as they can get.


Its not really a comparable situation.

Those are well isolated areas where most of the people don't even realize there are cures for their ailments and where solutions are way out of their reach.

Here, on the other hand, we are talking about a modern society where you are perfectly aware that there are those privileged, who can live and enjoy life, while you, who worked hard all your life, have to die. Now add to this that you have a loving family which counts on you, children who you want to see grow up, and million other reasons to live. You won't accept your fate calmly, in all probability you will do whatever it takes to get the money for the treatment, especially when faced with time of your death approaching as there won't be much to loose anyway.
Now imagine millions of people in such a situation, I certainly see it leading to extreme social tensions.
VOR
not rated yet Dec 17, 2008
Mankind has been bypassing evolution for quite a while, we are now in a place to start controlling evolution. This could be rationalized (if you wanted to) as part of our evolution (just no longer Darwinian). Life extension does indeed present some very serious concerns. Couple it with cyropreservation, which may eventually acheive preservation with little or no damage, and you have quite a quandry! Why even the estate management implications boggle the mind. I should have such problems! lol. Our rapidly (and apparently accelerating to a point)advancements in genetic manipulation and other modes may indeed produce starting results. But when is anyones guess. Probably more than 25 yrs and less than 100, barring a calamity or two.

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