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 fact of human life, those exciting questions come up extra usually within the context of technological know-how fiction than technological know-how truth. yet fresh discoveries within the fields of phone biology and molecular genetics are heavily difficult the belief that human lifespans are past our regulate. With such discoveries in brain, famous cellphone biologist William R. Clark essentially and elegantly describes how senescence starts off on the point of person cells and the way mobile replication will be sure up with getting older of the complete organism. He explores the evolutionary beginning and serve as of getting older, the mobile connections among getting older and melanoma, the parallels among mobile senescence and Alzheimer's disorder, 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 aid in caloric consumption may very well support bring up lifespan, and the way the damaging results of oxidative components within the physique will be restricted by way of the intake of antioxidants present in fruit and veggies. In a last bankruptcy, Clark considers the social and monetary features of residing longer, the results of gene remedy on senescence, and what we would know about getting older from experiments in cloning. this can be a hugely readable, provocative account of a few of the main far-reaching and debatable questions we're prone to ask within the subsequent century.
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Additional info for A Means to an End - The Biological Basis of Aging and Death
We imagine that a major driving force behind getting larger was the advantage it provided for becoming a predator, or perhaps fending off other would-be predators. Becoming larger also provided increased room for the development of a more sophisticated intracellular architecture, and for storage of food supplies that could be used to provide energy when extracellular food sources were scarce. But increased size brought with it a number of problems, not the least of which was supplying enough proteins to operate a cell that had become almost a million times larger in volume than the average bacterium.
It seems unlikely that cells that age naturally in culture and enter senescence are truly immortal, but unfortunately no one has yet followed them out in time to see whether and how they die. T h i s is an experiment that should be done to complete the story of replicative senescence in vitro. Programmed cell death in multicellular animals has become more complex in humans and other multicellular animals than it was in the early eukaryotes, and also has found other uses such as the shaping of body parts during mammalian embryogenesis.
W h a t qualities define a cell as being dive, the absence of which would make it dead? W h a t makes a cell old? There are many criteria used to define life in a cell. Perhaps the most important is the ability to consume energy-rich materials (nutrients), extract the energy from them, and then use that energy to carry out the various chemical reactions supporting life within the cell. All living things do this; it is the process known as metabolism. Cells use energy derived in this fashion—metabolic energy—to form their structural and functional components, to reproduce themselves, and to respond to the environment, for example, to move about in search of food or to escape from predators or poisons.
A Means to an End - The Biological Basis of Aging and Death by William R. Clark