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
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.
A damming trend
17.12.2018 | Michigan State University
Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis
13.12.2018 | National Science Foundation
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.12.2018 | Architecture and Construction
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences