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Pseudorandomness of Gene Expression: A New Evo-devo Theory of Ageing

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In contrast to the first part of life (development), ageing appears to be under less strict genetic control. The precise timing of events so characteristic of development seems to loosen its grasp, while stochastic and environmental factors seem to become the dominant force. Evolutionary theories put forward a decreasing evolutionary pressure over the course of life as the reason behind this pattern, yet dissenting views on ageing as a genetically programmed process linger. In this paper we address this dissent by presenting insights from an artificial evolutionary-developmental system, ET, and propose a new evo-devo theory of ageing—a theory that sees ageing as a continuation of development in the postreproductive period. In this theory both development and ageing are under genetic control. Nonetheless, while gene expression patterns that drive development are optimised by evolution, patterns that drive ageing are not optimised, because evolutionary pressure decreases with age. For these reasons, during ageing the changes orchestrated by genes are “pseudorandom”— deterministic but erratic—and their effects on an individual’s health are more likely to be detrimental than beneficial. As such, they contribute to the continuous deterioration of bodily functions that characterise ageing.
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Keywords: Evo-devo; programmed theories of ageing; stochastic theories of ageing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2014

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  • Current Aging Science publishes frontier review and experimental articles in all areas of aging and age-related research that may influence longevity. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the biology and mechanism of aging, genetics, pathogenesis, intervention of normal aging process and preventive strategies of age-related disorders. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, clinical, molecular, and animal models, including lower organism models (e.g., yeast, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila). In addition to the affect of aging on integrated systems, the journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of adults stem cells, brain imaging, calorie restriction, immunosenescence, molecular diagnostics, pharmacology and clinical aspects of aging. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to developmental programming of aging and the synergistic mechanism of aging with cardiovascular diseases, obesity and neurodegenerative disorders.

    Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor and drug clinical trial studies are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in aging, age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease and longevity. Current Aging Science provides a comprehensive coverage of the current state of aging research for gerontologists, neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting agencies and pharmaceutical scientists.

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