The Science Behind Aging and Genetics

Ageing and Genetics

Aging is an inexplicable biological phenomenon that is difficult to comprehend, with different causes leading to its manifestation in various ways and stages of life. Gaining an understanding of this subject requires challenging many preconceptions about it and exploring all possibilities of an answer.

Scientists study aging on multiple levels, from molecular to organism. Their research shows that at a cellular level, aging involves gradual mutation accumulation that reduces energy production; at macromolecular level telomeres shorten over time to signal cells to shut down or self-destruct. At organismal level studies of limited proliferative lifespan metazoans (like Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans) provide clues as to their mechanisms; similar genetic analyses of human longevity genes provide valuable clues regarding these mechanisms of aging mechanisms.

Research highlights the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which holds instructions for producing ATP. When this instructions become compromised by mutations, production decreases until cells cannot produce any more and start breaking down, leading to their death through apoptosis.

Exercise, making smart food choices and getting enough rest all play an integral role in leading a healthy lifestyle, but even more essential is mental wellbeing, specifically the avoidance of stress and depression. Spending time with grandchildren and young people can provide comforting relief; in fact, one survey discovered that seven in ten seniors report enjoying more leisure activities now than when younger.