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?



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