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 New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>