No single gene for ageing

September 12, 2005

According to professor Thomas Kirkwood of the University of Newcastle, there is no single gene for ageing. Throughout time, Humans have used energy to get food, produce offspring and survive danger – not to repair and maintain cells. So the maintenance system in the body slowly breaks down.

This topic was of great interest at the seminar for ageing at the conference "Functional genomics and disease" taking place in Oslo, Norway. Thomas Kirkwood is the director of the internationally recognised Institute of Ageing and Health (IAH).

Developmentally it has been more important for humans to invest energy in reproduction and not in maintenance or repair of the body over time.

But genetic factors do exist. "Approximately 25 percent of how a person ages is inherited from parents," says Kirkwood. "Stress, environment, nutrition, lifestyle and immunity play an additional role. Great variation between individuals can be seen in organisms such as round worms – and in humans."

Studies of ageing also give insight into the causes of cancer, because cancer and ageing have the same background causes, thinks Vilhelm Bohr, professor at the University of Baltimore in the United States.

"Cancer is more frequent with age. We must understand the causes of ageing to be able to understand why we have cancer," points out Bohr during his presentation at the conference.

Kirkwood's paper was presented at the "Functional genomics and disease" conference - Genetics Conference, Oslo, Norway, University of Oslo and European Science Foundation (ESF)

Source: The Research Council of Norway

Explore further: California 6th grade science books: Climate change a matter of opinion not scientific fact

Related Stories

Genetics of aging and cancer resistance

November 15, 2008

In the November 15th issue of G&D, Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind and colleagues at the David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) have identified two genes – p16(Ink4a) and Arf – that sensitize lymphoid progenitor cells to the effects ...

A model for ageing

August 7, 2015

Life is short, especially for the killifish, Nothobranchius furzeri: It lives for only a few months and then its time is up. During that short lifespan it passes through every phase of life from larva to venerable old fish. ...

Cancer 'cure' in mice to be tested in humans

June 29, 2008

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are about to embark on a human trial to test whether a new cancer treatment will be as effective at eradicating cancer in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

Some vitamin supplements don't protect against lung cancer

May 21, 2007

A study of more than 75,000 adults found that taking supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C and E and folate do not decrease the risk of lung cancer. The findings are being reported at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International ...

Recommended for you

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles

February 8, 2016

Scientists have created a crystal structure that boosts the interaction between tiny bursts of light and individual electrons, an advance that could be a significant step toward establishing quantum networks in the future.

Earth-like planets have Earth-like interiors

February 8, 2016

Every school kid learns the basic structure of the Earth: a thin outer crust, a thick mantle, and a Mars-sized core. But is this structure universal? Will rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars have the same three layers? ...

Tiny diatoms boast enormous strength

February 8, 2016

Diatoms are single-celled algae organisms, around 30 to 100 millionths of a meter in diameter, that are ubiquitous throughout the oceans. These creatures are encased within a hard shell shaped like a wide, flattened cylinder—like ...

Making sense of metallic glass

February 8, 2016

If you freeze any liquid fast enough, even liquid metal, it becomes a glass. Vitrified metals, or metallic glasses, are at the frontier of materials science research. They have been made by rapidly cooling alloys of various ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.