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Anuraag Reddy

AIESEC India

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Why evolution could never solve aging?

Maybe aging is an essential mechanism to clear out the old and make way for the new like cells within a body?

Maybe every form of life is already close to the upper limit of life expectancy?

Maybe aging is in the nature of carbon based life and metabolism?

Maybe we genetically sacrifice our longevity to survive the stresses of competition.

Emerging Questions:
Is it that our metabolic processes are over-compensated for dominance in their sexual prime which prove detrimental for longevity?

Is it that genes leading to different lifespans are mixed indefinitely in nature that it was never possible to select for it?

Isn't an organism with a longer span of mating at an advantage?

My hypothesis:
In the absence of change in ones environment, or competitive stresses an organism would eventually adapt itself to survive longer.

If every organism is a product of evolution then there must of course be underlying mechanisms within itself to aid such an adaptive process.

Under the influence of adaptive pressure, it would encourage mutation or variations in order create successful variations and also increase the number of life-cycles and so reducing the lifespan.

Under the influence of competitive stress, the dominance would lead to reproductive success and not the span of mating during ones lifespan.

In the absence of change in ones environment leading to adaptive pressure, or competitive stresses from rivals to prove dominance. Species would evolve longer lifespans.

Just a Theory though! But it would predict that

Lifespans of living fossils which have undergone little change in time should be greater than their relatives which have recently evolved.

Life having evolved on geographically isolated places far from intense competitive pressures should have greater lifespans.

Living things higher up in the food-chain or with few natural enemies should have greater lifespans.

Life span in pair bonding species should be higher than tournament species.

Topics: aging evolution
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    Nov 21 2011: In regards to evolution solving the ageing problem my opinion is the following:

    A. Evolution is a mechanism that allows an organism to survive and it is based on a dynamic equilibrium between stresses and opportunities for the organism within its environment.

    B. Survival does not necessarily have to do with life span. Living longer or living forever does not ensure survival. It is acknowledged however that a longer life span might be beneficial under certain circumstances (relative isolation, absence of pressures) and for specific reasons (reproductive success), which often are related to the emergence of other issues (especially scarcity of food supplies and power struggle over habitat areas).

    C. If for survival to be achieved, an organisms needs to live less, then evolution has already solved ageing by allowing its existence.

    Maybe the issue here lies within the question, as it regards biological immortality as a desirable or maybe the ultimate goal for organisms. Maybe senescence IS the answer to sustaining life.

    PS: Note that this is a simplification of arguments. There is a much longer debate regarding the issue of overpopulation, while the finite nature of our planet's natural resources needs also to be taken into consideration in one such dialogue.

    PS 2: Some organisms have indeed achieved immortality (see the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula and Hydras), but that only means it is for those species a successful evolutionary trait. If for another species one such mutation or adaptation proves useless or does not promote life sustenance, it would probably devolve, evolve by rejecting the unsuccessful trait or become extinct.

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