By Robin Holliday

For hundreds of years humans were questioned 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 20 th century a outstanding medical discovery emerged. It used to be no longer a unmarried discovery within the traditional feel, since it used to be in accordance with a sequence of significant interconnected insights over relatively a protracted 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 possibly already be stated, notwithstanding, that the numerous observations and insights that designate getting older aren't approved as proven wisdom for a very long time. the sphere continues to be packed with scientists, and non-scientists, who're simply chuffed to head on speculating concerning the 'mystery' of getting older. the purpose of this booklet is to dispel lack of knowledge via explaining in non-technical language what are the explanations for getting older and the parable of over the top prolongation of existence.

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Allocation of the resources available to a mammalian species Normal functions Biochemical synthesis Metabolism Respiration Cell turnover Movement Feeding and digestion Excretion Reproductive functions Gonads, gametes and sex Development Gestation Suckling Care of offspring Maintenance functions All those discussed and listed in Chapter 3 The above conclusions can be best applied within particular taxonomic groups, such as mammals, or birds. Amongst animals as a whole there is enormous diversity, and there exists for instance, large fish which produce vast numbers of eggs, and highly specialised insects, such as certain parasitic wasps, which may produce few The Ancient Origins of Ageing 43 offspring.

One obvious reason for this is that the repair enzymes become saturated; they simply cannot cope with all the damage. But there are other reasons too. Sometimes two DNA lesions occur very close together, that are far more difficult to repair; and there may also be chemical changes that are not detected by repair enzymes. There is now plenty of evidence that so-called spontaneous damage in DNA is not completely repaired. It is known that gene mutations slowly accumulate in white blood cells with age, and also chromosome breaks, or changes in chromosome number.

However, for our purpose, the real biological situation is the relevant one, and this is the maintenance of the normal functional state of the animal. Normal detoxification is the sifting out of noxious chemicals in diet to produce harmless derivatives, some of which can be metabolized by other pathways. Although herbivores are most at risk, carnivores which feed on herbivores may also be at risk, so they have their own detoxification system. In some cases, and particularly in insects, animals have become resistant to plant toxins, and can store them for their own defence against predators.

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Ageing : the paradox of life by Robin Holliday
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