Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 18 September 2002
Vol. 2002, Issue 37, p. pe14
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2002.37.pe14]


Mitigating the Tithonus Error: Genetic Analysis of Mortality Phenotypes

Scott D. Pletcher

The author is in the Department of Biology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK, and the Huffington Center on Aging, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA. E-mail: s.pletcher{at};2002/37/pe14

Key Words: aging • mortality analysis • chicoDrosophila melanogaster • biodemography

Abstract: Summarizing an organism's age at death in terms of the mean or maximum life-span is the most popular way to describe genetic effects on aging. In this Perspective, the author describes a new study with the fly Drosophila melanogaster, in which another type of measure is also used: the age-dependent risk of death, or age-specific mortality. Changes in age-specific mortality reflect the underlying physiological deterioration of an organism as it ages. Thus, the author argues that these changes provide a phenotype that is ideal for the genetic analysis of aging.

Citation: S. D. Pletcher, Mitigating the Tithonus Error: Genetic Analysis of Mortality Phenotypes. Science's SAGE KE (18 September 2002),;2002/37/pe14

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