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Aging (Albany NY). 2009 May 21;1(5):444-50.

Adaptation, aging, and genomic information.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA.


Aging is not simply an accumulation of damage or inappropriate higher-order signaling, though it does secondarily involve both of these subsidiary mechanisms. Rather, aging occurs because of the extensive absence of adaptive genomic information required for survival to, and function at, later adult ages, due to the declining forces of natural selection during adult life. This absence of information then secondarily leads to misallocations and damage at every level of biological organization. But the primary problem is a failure of adaptation at later ages. Contemporary proposals concerning means by which human aging can be ended or cured which are based on simple signaling or damage theories will thus reliably fail. Strategies based on reverse-engineering age-extended adaptation using experimental evolution and genomics offer the prospect of systematically greater success.


Aging; Hamiltonian research; adaptation; experimental evolution; forces of natural selection

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