The average life expectancy of an American is 77 years. In the years leading up to 1800, it was only about 40. Despite billions of dollars spent and countless research hours spent, it is rare that science can extend a life beyond 100 years old. However, there isn’t actually a scientific principle as to why we age. There are several theories, but nobody has discovered a definitive reason for the aging process. All other aspects of life aim towards increasing it, so why do we die? One theory is that there is a gene that determines how long we live. This gene would be heritable, which would explain why members of the same family have similar lifespans. However, this similar lifespan among families could also be due to similarity in behavior. Another theory is that as we age, our DNA becomes too damaged to continue replicating, resulting in death. Some evidence of this has been found, and these damages usually occur in genes responsible for energy consumption, stress resistance, or regulation of the insulin.. One would think that the repairing of these damaged genes would extend the lifespan of the organism, but so far experiments in this area have not been effective. When scientists edited these genes in mice and worms, occasionally they would live longer, but they would always show defects like infertility, inactivity, and stunted growth.

There are several theories on the reason we age as well, not just the causes behind it. One theory is that the ‘defects’ that occur later in an organism’s life are hereditary, and therefore capable of being passed down. Normally, natural selection weeds out such defects, but because these only occur late on in the life of the organism, it can still reproduce and produce healthy offspring which are also capable of reproduction. Thus the chain of life would continue and the species would continue to thrive as a whole. Any defects that contributed to agong would remain present, and continue to cause members of the species to grow old. However, if this theory were the only one that applied, it would not explain the fact that there has never been an organism without these defects, an ageless creature. One would assume that there would be an exception to aging if it was caused entirely by mere defects.

Whatever the reason and the cause, continued research in this area has profound implications for society. If we can come to a definitive conclusion, then it would be possible to slow the aging process, or even stop it entirely. Ultimately it has the potential to transform the human race as we know it.

The average life expectancy of an American is 77 years. In the years leading up to 1800, it was only about 40. Despite billions of dollars spent and countless research hours spent, it is rare that science can extend a life beyond 100 years old. However, there isn’t actually a scientific principle as to why we age. There are several theories, but nobody has discovered a definitive reason for the aging process. All other aspects of life aim towards increasing it, so why do we die? One theory is that there is a gene that determines how long we live. This gene would be heritable, which would explain why members of the same family have similar lifespans. However, this similar lifespan among families could also be due to similarity in behavior. Another theory is that as we age, our DNA becomes too damaged to continue replicating, resulting in death. Some evidence of this has been found, and these damages usually occur in genes responsible for energy consumption, stress resistance, or regulation of the insulin.. One would think that the repairing of these damaged genes would extend the lifespan of the organism, but so far experiments in this area have not been effective. When scientists edited these genes in mice and worms, occasionally they would live longer, but they would always show defects like infertility, inactivity, and stunted growth.

There are several theories on the reason we age as well, not just the causes behind it. One theory is that the ‘defects’ that occur later in an organism’s life are hereditary, and therefore capable of being passed down. Normally, natural selection weeds out such defects, but because these only occur late on in the life of the organism, it can still reproduce and produce healthy offspring which are also capable of reproduction. Thus the chain of life would continue and the species would continue to thrive as a whole. Any defects that contributed to agong would remain present, and continue to cause members of the species to grow old. However, if this theory were the only one that applied, it would not explain the fact that there has never been an organism without these defects, an ageless creature. One would assume that there would be an exception to aging if it was caused entirely by mere defects.

Whatever the reason and the cause, continued research in this area has profound implications for society. If we can come to a definitive conclusion, then it would be possible to slow the aging process, or even stop it entirely. Ultimately it has the potential to transform the human race as we know it.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Aging Issues by Logan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Adelle 7 months ago

    This is really cool article! I am also very interested in this topic. Besides the DNA damage theory, I was completely unaware of most of the these. Are you planning to do any additional research in the future?

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