(ORDO NEWS) — Reduce weakening and deterioration with age. Evolutionary theories of aging predict that all living organisms weaken and break down with age and eventually die.
Now researchers are showing that some animal species, such as tortoises and tortoises, may show slower or even no aging when their living conditions improve.
All living organisms grow old and die – it is impossible to avoid death. But not all organisms follow the same pattern of weakening and deteriorating into old age and death a process known as aging. As strange as it sounds.
Contrary to the widely held theories of aging, we have shown that many species of tortoises and tortoises have found a way to slow down or even completely turn off the aging process.
This means that aging is not inevitable for all organisms, says biologist Rita da Silva, who worked at the University of Southern Denmark at the time of the work.
She and other researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have published a new study in the journal Science, studying turtles and tortoises living in zoos and aquariums.
Aging slower than in humans
The study showed that their aging is not like that of humans or other animals: In fact, most of them age more slowly, and in some cases their aging is negligible.
Of the 52 species, 75% show extremely slow aging, and in 80% it proceeds more slowly than in modern humans.
We found that some of these species can reduce the rate of aging in response to improved living conditions in zoos and aquariums compared to the wild, says co-author Dalia Konde, assistant professor of biology at the University of Southern Denmark.
Some evolutionary theories predict that aging appears after puberty as a compromise between the energy an individual invests in repairing damage to his cells and tissues and the energy he invests in reproduction so that his genes are passed on to the next generation.
This compromise implies, in particular, that after reaching puberty, a person stops growing and begins to experience senescence – a gradual deterioration in bodily functions with age.
Theories predict that such compromises are unavoidable, and therefore senescence is inevitable. In fact, this prediction has been confirmed for several species, especially mammals and birds.
The fact that some of them show little aging does not mean that they are immortal; it only means that their risk of death does not increase with age.
However, organisms that continue to grow beyond sexual maturity, such as tortoises and tortoises, are thought to have the potential to continue to invest in repairing cellular damage and are therefore considered ideal candidates to reduce and even prevent the detrimental effects of aging.
Note, however, that the fact that some of them show slight aging does not mean that they are immortal; it only means that the risk of their death does not increase with age, but is still greater than zero.
In short, they will all eventually die due to inevitable causes of death, such as illness, said study author Fernando Colchero, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Southern Denmark.
People can’t avoid aging
In the last century, people have witnessed an unprecedented increase in life expectancy. However, studies in humans and non-human primates have shown that improved living conditions do not significantly alter the rate of aging.
Among these types, environmental changes affect mainly infant and juvenile mortality, as well as age-independent causes of death such as predation or extreme conditions.
Thus, these species, including humans, cannot escape aging, says Fernando Colchero.
About the study
The research team used the Species360 zoological information management system and obtained data on the maintenance of 52 species of tortoises and tortoises, which are distinguished by a variety of life cycle strategies, body mass and lifespan. The study authors are Rita da Silva, Dahlia A. Conde, Annette Bodisch, and Fernando Colchero, all from SDU
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