Re: "Immortality" gene revealed

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:03:13 -0500

Joao Pedro wrote:
> Hi!
> Twink wrote:
> > >My theory is that some species never aged (in a evolutionary scale)
> > >while others started to show signs of aging and then "evolved" towards
> > >non-aging species (they evolved because they were close to the top of
> > >the food chain or had other kind of non-hazardous lifestyle where there
> > >is evolutionary preassure against aging). We, in turn, become so complex
> > >that errors in our more advanced functions are more likely to occur.
> > >Aging is caused by this errors and the ones mentioned ahead.
> >
> > Sounds unlikely, but what is the evidence for your theory?
> My first evidence is that our ancestrals did not age (bacteria don't age
> and most of the non-aging species are quite primitive in an evolutionary
> scale). If aging "evolved", it can be caused by two types of errors: (1)
> old processes that started to fail; or (2) new processes that are not
> perfect yet.
> About the evolution of aging species towards non-aging species, the
> question might be asked of weather these species suppressed aging or
> their evolutionary "relatives" in more hazardous positions evolved
> aging? I think it can go either way, the best evidence I have supporting
> the first option is that there is some evolutionary pressure against
> aging in species who live non-hazardous lives. For example, in mammals,
> the species with the longest life span (ours), is the one with the
> longest maturation time, something that can only be achieved by being on
> top of the food chain.

Well, if we are to first assume that to prevent aging means to encourage
constant cell growth, then we run into a bit of an engineering problem.
At our current size and growth rates, the average human, if it kept
growing would eventually reach heights and girths that would push the
structural limitations of the human skeleton, as well as push the
hydrodynamic tolerances of the cardiovascular and lymphic systems, i.e.
we'd develop bone disorders (as many giants do) as well as increased
risk of heart failure. To counter this, we can either a) move out of a 1
g gravity field, to the moon or Mars, etc. or b) genetically engineer
ourselves to grow slower from the get go, and/or improve the structural
and hydrodynamic capabilities of the human body.

I think that the real question to ask is why simple organisms can keep
on dividing and reproducing without any serious genetic drift or loss of
chromosomal integrity, as we experience with our shortening telomeres,
and what can we do to maintain youthful or at least positive sum cell
division rates for as long as possible. Budding, anybody? Perhaps for
real immortality, we will need to genetically engineer ourselves to bud
off clones of ourselves as a natural process, with some sort of organ
that uses indictive or capacitive signals to pass data through the skin
for a sort of mind meld capability.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?