Read e-book online Ageing : the paradox of life PDF

By Robin Holliday

ISBN-10: 1402056400

ISBN-13: 9781402056406

For hundreds of years humans were wondered via the inevitability of human getting older. for many of the second one 1/2 the 20 th century getting older remained a secret, or an unsolved organic challenge. on the finish of the twentieth century a awesome medical discovery emerged. It was once now not a unmarried discovery within the ordinary feel, since it used to be in response to a sequence of vital interconnected insights over fairly an extended time period. those insights made it attainable for the first actual time to appreciate the organic purposes for getting older in animals and guy. it will probably already be acknowledged, even if, that the various observations and insights that designate getting older are usually not accredited as proven wisdom for a very long time. the sphere continues to be filled with scientists, and non-scientists, who're simply satisfied to move on speculating in regards to the 'mystery' of getting older. the purpose of this booklet is to dispel lack of knowledge by means of explaining in non-technical language what are the explanations for getting older and the parable of over the top prolongation of lifestyles.

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Extra resources for Ageing : the paradox of life

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The important point, however, is that all types of animals find themselves in hostile environments, which produce age-structured populations. For this reason, ageing probably did not evolve once, but several times in different taxonomic groups. One of the most successful of these comprises the vast array of insect species. Many of these species, like the roundworm, have adult bodies with very few, if any, cells capable of division, apart from their germ cells. In general, they have limited powers of regeneration, and their bodies have finite survival times.

Their anatomical design ensures the mortality of the individual, apart from those species which have special means of vegetative propagation, or have evolved additional mechanical support, such as the Banyan tree. Such a tree may be potentially immortal because it forms, in effect, a clone of identical individuals, radiating out from the centre. (There is a famous Banyan tree in the Calcutta botanical gardens which covers an immense area). No animal species more complex than a coral, has evolved any similar means of survival.

In discussing the non-dividing cells of our brain, or our heart, I earlier made the fairly dogmatic assertion that these cells cannot be expected to survive forever. The same applies to the simple roundworm. The non-dividing cells of the adult cannot be expected to survive for ever, and indeed they do not. An individual worm will only live for days or weeks, even if it is in an ideal environment with plenty of food. These animals clearly exhibit ageing, a fact which has been seized by many experimental biologists in attempting to document of what actually happens during this ageing process, and also what determines the actual lifespan under good conditions in a laboratory.

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Ageing : the paradox of life by Robin Holliday

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