Monthly Archives: March 2011

Thesis 29

Thesis #29 – Species with fully symmetrical fission as the sole means of reproduction do not have a declining force of natural selection acting on survival, and they do not evolve aging phases in which all individuals show declining survival. … Continue reading

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Thesis 30

Thesis #30 – The forces of natural selection plateau at zero values at very late adult ages, and do not decline further for all subsequent ages. This is the most important thing of all, even if no one understood what … Continue reading

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Thesis 31

Thesis #31 – After the forces of natural selection plateau, it is possible for survival and reproduction to plateau at positive values due to age-independent beneficial effects of some genetic variants. As with modern physics, again, it is often difficult … Continue reading

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Thesis 32

Thesis #32 – Before the forces of natural selection plateau, it is possible for genetic drift, due to small population sizes among other possibilities, to weaken the ability of natural selection to distinguish among genetic variants affecting later adult life, … Continue reading

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Thesis 33

Thesis #33 – When late-adult plateaus in survival and reproduction occur, members of biological cohorts that reach such plateaus will show stabilization of some but not necessarily all functional characters. Evolutionary theory makes a simple prediction about how the key … Continue reading

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Thesis 34

Thesis #35 – Severe antagonistic pleiotropy can cause the evolution of zero late-adult survival probability even under ideal conditions, when genetic trade-offs between early reproduction and subsequent adult survival are sufficiently strong. Not all organisms have three phases to their … Continue reading

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Thesis 35

Thesis #35 – The ages at which the forces of natural selection plateau depend on the last ages of reproduction and survival in the evolutionary history of a population, allowing experimental evolution of the cessation of aging by deliberately changing … Continue reading

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Thesis 36

Thesis #36 – Experimental populations which have evolved different time-points for the cessation of aging can be used to uncover the biological foundations that determine the timing of the cessation of aging. During the 1980s and 1990s, my laboratory devoted … Continue reading

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Thesis 37

Thesis #37 – Patterns of aging, including the rates of decline of functional characters and the timing of any cessation in such decline, depend on the environments in which cohorts are raised and live as adults. (Picture of Einstein talking … Continue reading

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Thesis 38

Thesis #38 – Some environmentally-induced variation in patterns of aging reflects the impact of selectively-favored patterns of life-history plasticity, but some environmental variation in aging does not reflect adaptive plasticity, such as that due to novel environments. An important distinction … Continue reading

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Thesis 39

Thesis #39 – ¬†Patterns of adaptation are jointly determined by long-antecedent evolutionary patterns of natural selection, mutation, and inbreeding, as well as the immediate impact of environmental manipulation. In studying the aging phase and other patterns of adaptation in an … Continue reading

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Thesis 40

Thesis #40 – Experimental strategies for the study of aging that involve the introduction of novel mutations or increased levels of inbreeding will systematically impair the scientific study of aging, as they degrade and disrupt adaptation generally. At this point, … Continue reading

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Thesis 41

Thesis #41 – Experimental strategies for the study of aging that involve the use of environments that are evolutionarily novel will systematically impair the scientific study of aging, as natural selection will not have previously fostered adaptation to such novel … Continue reading

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Thesis 42

Thesis #42 – As a pattern of age-dependent adaptation, aging and the post-aging period are best studied using the range of methods used to study adaptation by evolutionary biologists, such as the comparative method, experimental evolution, and genomics. By this … Continue reading

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Thesis 43

Thesis #43 – Experimental manipulation of the forces of natural selection is one of the most powerful methods of studying the biological foundations of aging, because it can direct experimental evolution to produce extensive genetic differentiation with respect to both … Continue reading

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Thesis 44

Thesis #44 – Most of our ancestral hominin populations of the last million years benefited from increased forces of natural selection at early adult ages under conditions of relatively abundant nutrition derived from hunting, gathering, and cooking and an increased … Continue reading

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Thesis 45

Thesis #45 – Our ancestral hunter-gatherer populations had generally low population densities, and thus low effective population sizes, which produced relatively early cessation of aging at relatively high function due to genetic drift. With very low population densities among our … Continue reading

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Thesis 46

Thesis #46 – In the last ten to twenty thousand years, some human populations adopted extensive agricultural cultivation of grass species and the use of milk from other mammals for nutrition, a novel environment which changed the action of natural … Continue reading

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Thesis 47

Thesis #47 – This novel agricultural lifestyle initially depressed adaptation and health, leading to intense natural selection for adaptations to the digestion of foods derived from grasses and milk, which has since produced adaptation to agricultural conditions at early ages. … Continue reading

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Thesis 48

Thesis #48 – Agricultural populations have also undergone substantial increases in population size compared to those of their ancestral hunter-gatherer populations, which increased the effectiveness of natural selection at later adult ages, resulting in the evolution of a delay in … Continue reading

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Thesis 49

Thesis #49 – In agricultural populations over the last ten thousand years, the longer-sustained effectiveness of natural selection has resulted in an age-dependent pattern of falling adaptation to agricultural conditions in which functional decline is sustained over a longer period … Continue reading

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Thesis 50

Thesis #50 – Children and young adults with predominantly agricultural ancestry are well adapted to agricultural conditions of nutrition and activity, but children and young adults without agricultural ancestry are not adapted to such conditions. Let us address with particular … Continue reading

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Thesis 51

Thesis #51 – Older adults from all human populations are not adequately adapted to agricultural patterns of nutrition and activity, resulting in an amplification of aging under such conditions. Naturally, older adults from non-agricultural populations will be no better adapted … Continue reading

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Thesis 52

Thesis #52 – All people without significant agricultural ancestry should revert to patterns of nutrition and activity which have physiological effects like those of hunter-gatherer lifestyles, in order to slow their aging and hasten its cessation. The case of individuals … Continue reading

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Thesis 53

Thesis #53 – Young people with significant agricultural ancestry can sustain their health with agricultural patterns of nutrition and activity, but not with an evolutionarily novel industrial lifestyle. It is tempting to suppose that young people with agricultural ancestry are … Continue reading

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Thesis 54

Thesis #54 – Older adults with significant agricultural ancestry cannot sustain their health with either agricultural or industrial patterns of nutrition and activity, and should instead switch to hunter-gatherer patterns of nutrition and activity in order to slow their later … Continue reading

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Thesis 55

Thesis #55 – Once this switch to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle among older adults has become widespread, further changes that would enhance human health at later ages can be discovered using evolutionary research tools, such as experimental evolution with model organisms … Continue reading

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