By William R. Clark
Why can we age? Is getting older inevitable? Will advances in clinical wisdom let us expand the human lifespan past its current limits? simply because ageing has lengthy been the only irreducible truth of human life, those interesting questions come up extra usually within the context of technological know-how fiction than technological know-how truth. yet contemporary discoveries within the fields of cellphone biology and molecular genetics are heavily not easy the idea that human lifespans are past our keep watch over. With such discoveries in brain, famous cellphone biologist William R. Clark basically and assuredly describes how senescence starts off on the point of person cells and the way mobile replication could be certain up with getting older of the complete organism. He explores the evolutionary starting place and serve as of getting older, the mobile connections among getting older and melanoma, the parallels among mobile senescence and Alzheimer's illness, and the insights received via learning human genetic disorders--such as Werner's syndrome--that mimic the indicators of getting older. Clark additionally explains how relief in caloric consumption may very well aid raise lifespan, and the way the damaging results of oxidative parts within the physique might be restricted by means of the intake of antioxidants present in vegetables and fruit. In a last bankruptcy, Clark considers the social and financial features of residing longer, the consequences of gene remedy on senescence, and what we would find out about getting older from experiments in cloning. it is a hugely readable, provocative account of a few of the main far-reaching and arguable questions we're more likely to ask within the subsequent century.
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Additional resources for A Means to an End - The Biological Basis of Aging and Death
T h e rate of death among women in the United States giving birth today is less than 10 percent of what it was at the end of the nineteenth century. These factors still compromise the survival of women in some parts of the world. T h e reason for the longer average lifespan of women in a more protected environment is unclear; it may be as simple as the fact that women, at least in the past, have smoked less, consumed less alcohol, and are in general more averse to physical risk. It is now well established that during the child-bearing years women are protected by hormones from cardiovascular disease, and they appear to have stronger immune systems; these protections are lost at menopause.
Carrel's experiments provided a major stimulus to the growth and study of cells in vitro. Over the next fifty years conditions for growing many different types of cells were gradually improved; in vitro cell culture would prove key to resolving many important questions about cell biology, especially in higher animals. B u t perhaps the most fundamental impact of Carrel's finding was on our views of senescence, an incorrect view that unfortunately lasted over forty years. , in the body) artifacts; the idea developed that individual cells are basically immortal, but something in the in vivo environment condemns them to mortality.
And finally, the time to complete a budding event gradually increases with each succeeding event. A very young yeast cell requires about sixty minutes to produce a daughter by budding; at the very end of its lifespan, the same cell may require as long as six hours to reproduce. T h e daughter cells produced from a budding event will experience the same total lifespan as the mother; the aging clock in the daughter cell is essentially reset to zero. B u t at some point these daughters, too, will senesce; they will undergo the same internal changes, slow down, stop dividing, and die via programmed cell death.
A Means to an End - The Biological Basis of Aging and Death by William R. Clark