Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How some plants and animals appear to defy the ageing process

16.01.2008
The inevitability of the ageing process and the onset of senescence - the process of deterioration with age - is a fact of life for most plant and animal species.

Some, however, live to extreme ages, such as the English yew, of which at least one alive today is recorded in the Domesday Book; while a few organisms seem to defy current evolutionary understanding altogether, by appearing to have indefinite generation lengths with negligible senescence. For example, the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine is known to produce viable cones at over 4000 years of age.

New research by ecologist Dr Patrick Doncaster from the University of Southampton, and mathematician Professor Robert Seymour from University College London demonstrates the principle by which some organisms can indefinitely postpone the onset of senescent ageing.

'Our analysis indicates that sedentary organisms, including some types of tree, are particularly likely to achieve this postponement of the onset of senescent ageing,' comments Dr Doncaster. 'It evolves through many generations of ancestors "crowding out" young individuals of the same species that attempt to grow to adulthood alongside them.'

He continues: 'The inevitability of senescence amongst organisms with repeated reproduction has well-developed theoretical foundations. In essence, since reproduction carries physiological costs, natural selection favours reaping early benefits, and delaying the cost in physiological decline until later in life when there is a greater chance of being dead anyway from environmental hazards.

'But some organisms show negligible senescence and a few, such as Hydra, which is a very simple freshwater animal, and the Bristlecone Pine, appear to have indefinite generation lengths. We have now answered the question of how they could have evolved from ancestors with senescent life histories. Mathematical analysis shows that the crowding out of young individuals favours selection on ever-reducing senescence. Our computer simulations indicate that this runaway process could even lead

to immortality.'

The research paper 'Density Dependence Triggers Runaway Selection of Reduced Senescence' is published in PLoS Computational Biology, the official journal of the International Society for Computational Biology.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://compbiol.plosjournals.org/
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>