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Thinking About Longevity: New evolutionary perspectives on an old age problem

Speaker Name: 
Daniel Promislow University of Georgia
Start Time: 
Friday, March 14, 2003 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Friday, March 14, 2003 - 2:00pm
Baskin Engineering, Room 330


Classical theories for the evolution of aging are based on the recognition that the strength of selection declines with age. Based on that idea, Medawar's 'Mutation Accumulation' argues that as we age, the load of late-acting deleterious mutations will steadily increase. George William's 'Antagonistic Pleiotropy' theory goes on to suggest that some of these deleterious alleles may have spread because they had early-acting beneficial effects. For the most part, both theoretical and empirical evolutionary biologists have been working with the same two evolutionary theories for the past half-century. I will argue that we need to start with those theories, but then incorporate the past half-century of dramatic progress in ecology, evolution and population genetics. In particular, I will discuss new models that incorporate ideas about metapopulations, mate choice, and most recently, gene networks. In the field of aging research, the molecular biologists have left the evolutionists behind. New models may help bring them back together.