SAGE KE Bulletin Board

Why does reproduction rejuvenate an organism?

17 June 2002

Mark R Mayford

Why does reproduction rejuvenate an organism? If aging represents the accumulation of cellular damage, then why/or how does the clock get reset during reproduction? The telomere argument may work for us but not for mice which have long telomeres into old age. I see three possibilities: protection, selection, or dilution. By protection I mean that the gametes are strongly protected from damage. By selection I mean that there are many damaged gametes but only those with minimal damage lead to the successful production of an organism. By dilution I mean that the damaged proteins etc. get diluted out during rapid cell division during development. Any other possibilities or data for or against one of these mechanisms?

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150