A new editorial published in the magazine aging He argues that neighboring cells in multicellular organisms are in constant competition.
The underlying causes of aging have remained elusive for a long time. However, in 1977, Thomas Kirkwood hypothesized that organisms might gain a fitness advantage by investing less in physical maintenance if this allowed them to invest more resources in more important processes such as reproduction. The accumulation of physical damage was therefore inevitable, and his theory of the disposable body has dominated gerontology ever since.
However, as our understanding of aging increases, it is becoming increasingly difficult to align all aspects of aging with accumulated damage. For example, mutations that increase damage accumulation can also increase longevity, while rejuvenation discoveries such as symbiosis and Yamanaka factors suggest that youth can be restored without high energy cost and despite high levels of damage.
In their new editorial, researchers James Wordsworth and Darryl Shanley from Newcastle University discuss their recent publication paper Selective destruction theory (SDT). SDT suggests a mechanism of aging that is independent of damage accumulation and compatible with epigenetic regeneration. The authors used agent-based modeling to describe how aging can undergo positive selection independent of energy costs.
“The mechanism of selective destruction is currently theoretical. In our most advanced model, we have shown that if slow cells trigger epigenetic changes in faster cells that slow their metabolism (rather than kill them), this not only reduces unnecessary cell death, But it also reduces the possibility of hyperactivity disorders by preventing the proliferation of fast cells.”
Reference: “A new theory of aging independent of the accumulation of damage” by James Wordsworth and Darrell Shanley, 28 July 2023, aging.
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