Questions tagged [senescence]

The process of biological aging or the state of an organism being biologically old.

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133
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1answer
16k views

Do bacteria die of old age?

I know that the cells of mammals at least stop dividing when they are old, and then die a programmed cell death. Then other cells have to replace them. But in a bacterial colony, each cell ...
62
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8answers
10k views

Why does evolution not make our life longer?

Why does evolution not make life longer for humans or any other species? Wouldn't evolution favour a long life?
49
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4answers
9k views

What is the longest-lasting protein in a human body?

Protein life times are, on average, not particularly long, on a human life timescale. I was wondering, how old is the oldest protein in a human body? Just to clarify, I mean in terms of seconds/...
40
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6answers
2k views

Why do we age? or Do we have a theory of senescence?

There seem to be a number of ideas about why we age. Hypotheses include the gradual accumulation of cell metabolic products affecting organism function and the reduction of telomere length during cell ...
29
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1answer
2k views

Do trees age on a microscopic level?

Most animals age via at least two mechinisms: at a "macroscopic" level, basically wear and tear to the point where (on evolutionary time scales) it's more genetically advantageous to optimize for ...
25
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3answers
4k views

Do all organisms have to die?

I understand (a little) that there are biological clocks and reason that after a certain amount of time organisms die. I'm wondering if that is something inherent in our DNA or in biology/chemistry in ...
25
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3answers
9k views

Why is the Hydra Biologically Immortal?

I have heard that the Hydra organism is biologically immortal (later I found that there are more immortal organisms). Now I know that its immortality is related to its telomerase. The thing is that we ...
22
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5answers
954 views

Do immortal organisms exist?

Do organisms exist that are able to live indefinitely if they are not killed by external factors? Under external factors I would consider things like predators and natural disaster but not illness by ...
22
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1answer
714 views

Why does regular exercise increase brain volume?

It has been shown in several studies that regular aerobic exercise increases brain volume in aging humans. The changes were observed in hippocampus and were correlated with dramatic reduction of age-...
20
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2answers
8k views

Is there an advantage to linear chromosomes?

The DNA copying enzymes have a hard time working to the end of a chromosome. For circular chromosomes this is not a problem, since there is not a sharp 'end'. However, for a linear chromosome, without ...
19
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2answers
4k views

Why does hair turn grey or white, and why does it happen later for some?

The question is pretty simple: what is happening molecularly when hair turns grey or white? I would imagine that it is due to the lack of a particular compound. I'm also interested in why some people'...
19
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2answers
4k views

What makes learning more difficult as we age?

Why is it harder to adapt yourself to different cultures, places, and languages as you age? What makes breaking up with emotional patterns or ideas after years of habit more difficult? Is there a ...
17
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1answer
3k views

Are human bodies programmed to die?

Following from this question: What is the evolutionary advantage of death?: Is there any evidence that human bodies have systemic self-destruction built into their developmental program? I'm not ...
17
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3answers
4k views

Why do some trees have a life span, while some don't?

I have heard that there is no limit on the growth of trees, but then why do some trees, such as boxelders and poplars, tend to live shorter than redwoods, for example? Some advertisements for improved ...
17
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0answers
247 views

Effect of Aging on SA node's sympathetic fibers

I am trying to understand the effect of aging on the sympathetic fibers of SA node. I know that aging shifts the vagal curve to left in frequency due to aging. However, I am interested if aging has ...
12
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1answer
418 views

Have any mutations or genetic loci been associated with exceptional longevity in humans?

Individuals that avoid age-related diseases into later life are known as 'exceptional survivors', and have increased longevity compared to their 'controls' (those that were born at a similar time, yet ...
11
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3answers
265 views

Does current evidence support the use of resveratrol as an anti-ageing drug?

A while back there was a lot of noise about resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol which was touted as a potential anti-aging drug due to its role in regulating the SIRT 1 gene. A number of studies ...
11
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1answer
357 views

How are new people created from the DNA of an aged person. i.e. Why are we young?

The question "why do we age" has been asked numerous times. But why are we young? The cells of the adult human being are an age (time>0), but how can old cells create new cells that are younger than ...
10
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1answer
19k views

Do crocodiles age?

I was watching a talk by Michio Kaku and he mentioned that crocodiles (or possibly alligators, I forget offhand) don't actually age -- they can die, but they essentially go through no aging process ...
10
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3answers
878 views

Have there been studies done to test Immortality of cancer cells in culture?

This website on cultured cancer cells () says cancer cells may be immortal. I am wondering if there has been any research done to find if cancer cells are really immortal. How old is the still ...
9
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3answers
268 views

Free Radicals for aging

From my understanding free radicals play a slight role in ageing. In what ways are they so damaging, and can a restricted diet reduce production of free radicals?
9
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1answer
568 views

What evolutionary pressures pushed Galápagos tortoises to mature so slowly and live so long?

I read that they take up to 40 years (in the wild) to reach the age of reproduction and are thought to live over 100 years, with one in captivity reaching over 170 years. Can someone explain in ...
9
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3answers
4k views

Is there any kind of immortality in plants?

I asked a question about immortality of hydra and learned good things about senescence. Now I would like to know about immortality in plants, if there is some kind of immortality in plants and how ...
9
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2answers
202 views

How well does the radius of a tree correlate with its age?

I'm looking for a cheap non-invasive ways to approximate the age of a tree (a birch). Measuring the radius pops up in the mind as the first alternative. How would one do that? Measure at multiple ...
9
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1answer
9k views

How does the NAD+/NADH ratio affect lifespan in vertebrates?

Here's the proximate physical implication of the ratio (from the Wikipedia article on NADH). The balance between the oxidized and reduced forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is called the ...
7
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3answers
400 views

What reasons allow for women to outlive men?

It is a well-known fact that women tend to outlive men. I often hear people unscientifically stating that men generally generally die younger because of the higher stress encountered in their work ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Isn't biological immortality strictly speaking impossible?

This question relates to both immortal cells such as cancers and organisms like the Hydra genus. Isn't it technically impossible for these "immortal" biological systems to live forever, even ...
7
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3answers
3k views

Can human organs be transplanted indefinitely?

I watched this movie, where they rented hearts to people for a year. I wonder if it is possible to transplant a heart indefinitely from person to person, or does the heart have a lifetime? So, do ...
7
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2answers
3k views

Cell life: division for immortality or reproduction with aging

Are the two cells that are derived from one cell, ‘twin sisters’ or a ‘mother and a daughter’? In other words, can a cell really be divided to live an "immortal" life or is cell reproduction the ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Exercise causes number of cell divisions to approach Hayflick limit faster? And hence shorten life expectancy?

A world class athlete spends a lot of time performing intense exercises. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that these intense exercises causes significant damage to the athlete's cells, but with ...
6
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3answers
336 views

Is solving cancer required in order to avoid aging?

When the telomerase enzyme is not active the telomere shortens every time the cell duplicates leading to a reproductive limit (Hayflicks limit). On one hand this is a believed reason for aging. On the ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Do people grow shorter as they age, how common is it, and what triggers it?

Is it true that people become gradually shorter as they age? If it is, is it more common in one gender than the other? And is it known what triggers this? (Considering that the "shortening" probably ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Why are beta-galactosidase proteins overexpressed in senescent cells?

Wikipedia explains that it's a hypothetical hydrolase enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of β-galactosides into monosaccharides only in senescent cells. I'm just wondering - what causes it to be ...
6
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1answer
89 views

How well supported is the hypothesis that aging is mainly caused by the number of mutations in tissues?

I heard the hypothesis, that the (main) reason of aging is the increasing number of mutations in body tissues. The higher the number of mutations is, the older tissue is. Is this true? And how well ...
5
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2answers
1k views

What determines the autumn leaf color?

It is autumn out there. Green, brown, red, yellow, and mixed-colored leaves drop from the trees to the ground. What determines the colors of the leaves? Wikipedia tells me Leaf senescence is the ...
5
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2answers
4k views

In practice, do fishes die from old age?

I was watching sea birds eating fishes and wondered if fishes actually died from old age, or if they are all eaten before this can happen? I reckon some big predator fishes must be able to live long ...
5
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1answer
341 views

Why isn't the p16-INK4a gene involved in apoptosis expressed in heart or liver tissues?

New York Times article explains how killing p16-INK4a positive senescent cells can help keep the surrounding cells vigorous. So here's my question: why is p16-INK4a expressed in most cells other than ...
5
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1answer
215 views

Does AMP/ATP ratio affect lifespan in vertebrates?

The reference below says that a higher AMP/ATP ratio is associated with lower lifespan in C. elegans. Is this finding also generalizable to vertebrates as well? Reference: Apfeld, J., O’Connor, G., ...
5
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1answer
226 views

Difference In Telomeres Between A Thale Cress Plant And A Methuselah Tree

From what I have read and understood telomeres cap off how many times a cell can divide before it can no longer divide and that is what causes aging. A thale cress plant apparently has a life cycle ...
5
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2answers
970 views

Can plants live forever? [duplicate]

I know that some plants die for old age like a lettuce. But there are trees like Baobabs or larger Ficus in the tropics of whom we don't know their age. And trees like spruce reaching 9950 years old, ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Does increased physical activity increase the rate of cell division?

Ever since learning that the shortening of telomeres is linked to aging I've tried to figure out what causes cells to divide, and if it's possible to slow down the rate of cell division through life ...
5
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1answer
123 views

In what ways, if any, does administration of rapamycin *not* mimic calorie restriction?

Numerous sources like this say that rapamycin increases lifespan. And mTOR antagonism appears to be a large part of this (mTOR antagonism also appears to be a large part of calorie restriction's ...
5
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1answer
672 views

How much does the Hayflick limit/telomere length vary across taxa and within humans?

Since they seem to be quite connected, I'm curious if anyone knows of research comparing the Hayflick limit (and presumably by extension telomere length) between different taxa. I've heard the ...
5
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1answer
329 views

Is cell senescence in culture comparable to that in vivo?

A cell is 'senescent' when is has permanently left the cell-cycle. This can be caused by stresses, or by reaching the 'Hayflick limit' (the cell has reached its replicative lifespan, as defined by its ...
5
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1answer
121 views

During human ageing, which immune cell sub-types are most affected?

It is now well established that human ageing is accompanied by an increase in systemic, low-grade (chronic) inflammation, sometimes termed inflammaging (Franceschi, 2007). This is in part due to more ...
5
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1answer
108 views

Why would we overexpress Sir2 by overexpressing its hypomorph (dSir2-EP2300) in C. elegans?

Can't we just overexpress regular Sir2 in the paper? Rather than overexpress a reduced-function gene? The paper is Burnett C, Valentini S, Cabreiro F, Goss M, Somogyvári M, Piper MD, Hoddinott M, ...
4
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1answer
340 views

Why are cancer rates low in large animals?

Large animals generally have more cells and live longer than smaller animals. For example, bowhead whales live up to 200 years and weigh up to 100 tonnes, as opposed to humans (living ~71 years and ...
4
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1answer
4k views

How do caspase proteins kill a cell?

Wikipedia just says... The active effector caspases then proteolytically degrade a host of intracellular proteins to carry out the cell death program. Okay, but what parts of the cell do they ...
4
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1answer
748 views

Why do humans lose subcutaneous fat tissue with age?

Why exactly do humans lose subcutaneous fat tissue with age? It appears that we either lose fat cell volume or we might actually be losing the number of fat cells with age. One hypothesis is that as ...
4
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1answer
123 views

Excercise and fitness in old age [closed]

I have seen so many news and study online, saying exercise keeps body healthy in old age and keeps us fit? how is this possible normal tear and wear will become more with activity hence more mutation ...