Evolutionary Biology of Aging

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Oxford University Press, Oct 27, 1994 - Science - 240 pages
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This unique book looks at the biology of aging from a fundamentally new perspective, one based on evolutionary theory rather than traditional concepts which emphasize molecular and cellular processes. The basis for this approach lies in the fact that natural selection, as a powerful determining force, tends to decline in importance with age. Many of the characteristics we associate with aging, the author argues, are more the result of this decline than any mechanical imperative contained within organic structures. This theory in turn yields the most fruitful avenues for seeking answers to the problem of aging, and should be recognized as the intellectual core of gerontology and the foundation for future research. The author ably surveys the vast literature on aging, presenting mathematical, experimental, and comparative findings to illustrate and support the central thesis. The result is the first complete synthesis of this vital field. Evolutionary biologists, gerontologists, and all those concerned with the science of aging will find it a stimulating, strongly argued account.
 

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Contents

1 The Evolutionary Theory of Aging
3
2 Observation of Aging
17
3 Experimental Tests of the Evolutionary Theory of Aging
39
4 Genetic Mechanisms for the Evolution of Aging
62
5 Comparative Biology of Aging
79
6 An Evolutionary Perspective on Organismal Theories of Aging
99
7 An Evolutionary Perspective on Cellular and Molecular Theories of Aging
126
8 The Future of Gerontology
160
BIBLIOGRAPHY
187
AUTHOR INDEX
211
SUBJECT INDEX
217
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Page vii - In almost any other important biological field than that of senescence, it is possible to present the main theories historically, and to show a steady progression from a large number of speculative, to one or two highly probable, main hypotheses. In the case of senescence this cannot profitably be done. ... It is a striking feature of these theories (of senescence) that they show little or no historical development; they can much more readily be...

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