Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

senescence - Theories of aging, Miscellaneous

errors increasing range body

A series of changes in the body which are related to increasing mortality with increasing age. Modern views hold that it is essentially a continuing and increasing failure of adaptability to environmental variations. When the range of environments to which the body can adapt is less than the minimum range normally experienced, death results. In the past, many causes of this decreased adaptability have been suggested, but modern theory suggests that it is due ultimately to errors in the replication of DNA in cell division and/or errors in the production of proteins and enzymes by cells. These errors accumulate as a result of mutation in the hereditary material as the individual becomes older.

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