Re : Cornering the causes of aging (was Re: AGING: Accumulation of DNAdamage)

From: Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (
Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 04:47:49 MDT


>JOAO PEDRO SAID: "...One of the major failures of gerontology has been in
>cornering where are the causes of aging located...."
>CYMM SAYS: That's not strictly true, Joao. If it's one thing that
>gerontology has taught us is that ageing - and the diseases of ageing - are
>MULTIFACTORIAL in aetiology.
>If you're looking for one major "cause" and one major "cure" for "ageing"
>you'll never find it. The "failure" lies in the interrelating of the
>multiple factors to produce a very useful medical model.

You're saying that aging is the sum of all genes affecting age-related
diseases? I don't agree. I think many age-related diseases evolved pararell
to aging but are not senescence. (I define senescence as the basic and
intrinsic aging process, independant of all diseases.) And this process can
well be a very simple mechanism. Just look at some progeroid syndromes and
how simple they are originated; or look at the large diversity in lifespan
and aging phenotypes in many phylum (including mammals), if aging had that
many genes affecting it, these differences would not exist. There are more
genes affecting age-related diseases than are genes differentiating us from
As for experimental evidence, I can cite you the recent lifespan extension
of almost 40% in mice by changing a single gene (in which senescence was
clearly slowed down). Chaos theory says that simple phenomenon has simple
origins; senescence is a very simple phenomenon (an exponential increase in
mortality from age 19 until age 70), so it can well have a very simple

Best wishes.

Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
The University of Namur (FUNDP)
Unit of Cellular Biochemistry & Biology
Rue de Bruxelles, 61
B-5000 Namur BELGIUM

Fax: + 32 81 724135
Phone: + 32 81 724133
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