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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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  • Dylan F

    • +2
    Dec 6 2011: A beautiful principle of evolution is that its designs only have to work well enough - well enough for the genes of an individual to propagate to successive generations. Perhaps the sheer evolutionary costliness of immortality for a mammal has proven too much and a higher metabolism was favored as a more engaged nervous system could live long enough to sufficiently reproduce.

    Although the mechanisms responsible for aging are not exactly known, it is clear that it's a complex matter involving many different biochemical factors. To overcome such a feat by natural selection may simply be too improbable to ever occur or it may need not ever occur because of easier solutions (higher metabolism = shorter life, but more strength, speed, intelligence for more reproduction = more genes in the gene pool to favor shorter life).

    But, on the other hand, evolution has stumbled upon a species capable of redesigning its very own nature with the potential of reaching conscious immortality. So maybe the question is "When will evolution solve the problem of aging?"
    • thumb
      Dec 8 2011: You seem to be in favor of the Antagonistic pleiotropy theory: Late-acting deleterious genes may even be favored by selection and be actively accumulated in populations if they have any beneficial effects early in life.

      A likely possibility and well arrived at. :)

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