Why on earth do we grow old?

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 26 March 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:861
  1. Bernard Dixon

    Adamn fool question, you say? Not at all. Aging is a very rum business, for at least two reasons. It does not seem to be strictly necessary, and we might well have expected the process to be eliminated during evolution.

    On the first count, it is a telling fact that not all creatures manifest the changes and deteriorations that we term aging. Even among the simplest organisms there are anomalous exceptions. Consider brewers' yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. They look much the same and their biochemistry and genetics are very similar. Yet the one grows old, as we do, while …

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