Evolution of ageing

  title={Evolution of ageing},
  author={Tom B. L. Kirkwood},
An evolutionary view of ageing suggests that mortality may be due to an energy-saving strategy of reduced error regulation in somatic cells. This supports Orgel's ‘error catastrophe’ hypothesis and offers a new basis for the study of normal and abnormal ageing syndromes and of apparently immortal transformed cell lines. 

Why do we age?

The evolutionary theory of ageing explains why ageing occurs and helps to clarify how the genome shapes the ageing process, thereby aiding the study of the genetic factors that influence longevity and age-associated diseases.

Programmed and non-programmed theories of aging

There are compelling reasons to regard aging as an evolved adaptive program. The evidence is diverse, deriving from genetics, breeding experiments, and plasticity of life span in stressful

Evolutionary perspectives on human senescence.

What we call senescence may simply be the inadvertent consequence of surviving beyond the reproductive period. As survival is further extended inevitable declines in physiological function and a

Slowing human ageing

Studies in model organisms indicate that increasing the expression of repair and maintenance genes results in slower ageing and increased life expectancy, and it might soon be possible to achieve such slowing of ageing in humans.

Puzzles, promises and a cure for ageing

A better understanding of the targets of such interventions, as well as the proximate causes of ageing-related degeneration and disease, is essential before the authors can evaluate if abrogation of human senescence is a realistic prospect.

Condition-dependence in life history evolution

A large number of studies have shown that the immune response to age-related decline is mainly driven by the immune system, and research is needed to understand more fully the mechanisms behind this response.

Evolutionary ideas on the nature of aging

Facts are considered showing that novel forms of aging and mechanisms counteracting them, antiaging systems, have appeared simultaneously with development of the evolutionary form.

Understanding ageing from an evolutionary perspective

Genes controlling the levels of activities, such as DNA repair and antioxidant defence, thus regulate longevity and can help to understand important features of the human life history such as menopause.

The damage-independent evolution of ageing by selective destruction




Altered Enzymes in Ageing Human Fibroblasts

Observations support Orgel's “error catastrophe” theory of ageing by showing that the RNA base analogue 5-FU induces premature senescence, which is preceded by the appearance of altered enzyme.

The maintenance of the accuracy of protein synthesis and its relevance to ageing: a correction.

  • L. Orgel
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1970
A simpler model is considered in which successive generations of the protein-synthetic apparatus are discrete and distinguishable, and it is deduced that the error frequency would increase exponentially.

The stability of the translation apparatus.

Kinetic proofreading: a new mechanism for reducing errors in biosynthetic processes requiring high specificity.

  • J. Hopfield
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1974
The specificity with which the genetic code is read in protein synthesis, and with which other highly specific biosynthetic reactions take place, can be increased above the level available from free

Decreased fidelity of DNA polymerase activity isolated from aging human fibroblasts.

DNA polymerase activity, isolated from late and early passage cells of the diploid human fibroblast line, MRC-5, was compared and it was observed that the enzyme from late passage cells was more error-prone.

The Logic of Animal Conflict

Game theory and computer simulation analyses show, however, that a “limited war” strategy benefits individual animals as well as the species.