- Aging & Longevity
Human Aging: DNA and Genetic Aging Theory.
Genetic Control Theory
Our genes are passed down to us from our parents. Therefore, from the time of conception our DNA encoded information that predetermined our pattern of aging. Our genetic makeup consists of genotype and phenotype. The genotype is the genetic encoded information while phenotype is the physical characteristics that represent the encoded information. For example, your genetic information at conception will encode that you will have blue eyes. As you grow, your eye color will gradually become bluer even if it was another color at birth, which most times it is.
At birth, babies have a particular appearance but as they grow, they start to resemble one or both parents. This genetic information was already laid down at conception. As people age, their appearance change without voluntary control; this is the representation of their genes.
The Question still remains: Can DNA be Reprogrammed?
As discussed earlier, internal changes occur even though they are not visible to us. People tend to visualize aging by the physical changes they see without giving considerations to internal changes that cause the external changes. Genetic control represents our ordained existence.
Genes determine how the organs function and how long they will function.
Someone who was born with a genetic abnormality of the heart or kidneys will have normal function according to the genetic lifespan of the organs. Once that lifespan is achieved, the organ function starts to decline. The body will build up compensatory mechanisms to maintain homeostasis. This can be in the form of developing collateral blood vessels or there is hypertrophy of an organ to assist with meeting the demands of the body.
Most times people with genetic malformation do not know until their organ’s biological clock has come to an end and is ready to cease function.
Timing of the biological clock depends on environmental factors and life events for each individual. Even though the genetic indicators are present, certain factors can either slows or exacerbate the expiration of the clock. Two people with genetic anomalies in the kidneys might have different prognosis at the age of 30. The one who is exposed to extreme stress or engage in poor eating habits might develop hypertension which accelerated the decline of kidney function. This will lead to kidney failure. On the other hand, the one without these environmental factors might not be affected until much later in life or might not be affected at all because of the compensatory mechanism that was developed.
Therefore, environmental factors determined the timing of the event of cessation of organ function.
Our genetic time clock can be altered by various advances in medical and science. There are therapies available that can introduce elements which attach itself to the host cells and influence the DNA in repairing itself. Anti-aging treatments are effective in producing this effect and has been found to be very beneficial in altering the timing of the biological clock.
Theories of Aging
There are four basic theories of aging, (click to learn more):