Evolutionary Biology of Aging / Edition 1

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This unique book looks at the biology of aging from a fundamentally new perspective, one based on evolutionary theory rather than traditional concepts which emphasize molecular and cellular processes. The basis for this approach lies in the fact that natural selection, as a powerful determining force, tends to decline in importance with age. Many of the characteristics we associate with aging, the author argues, are more the result of this decline than any mechanical imperative contained within organic structures. This theory in turn yields the most fruitful avenues for seeking answers to the problem of aging, and should be recognized as the intellectual core of gerontology and the foundation for future research. The author ably surveys the vast literature on aging, presenting mathematical, experimental, and comparative findings to illustrate and support the central thesis. The result is the first complete synthesis of this vital field. Evolutionary biologists, gerontologists, and all those concerned with the science of aging will find it a stimulating, strongly argued account.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One beauty of the evolutionary theory of aging is its testability; it stands or falls on the pattern of age-specificity of genetic effects on survival and fertility, and these are open to empirical investigation. Rose himself is a leader in this field, his work on genetics of aging in Drosophilia having become a classic demonstration both of age-specific gene effects on survival and fertility and of genes with opposing effects on fitness at different ages. He produces an excellent review of the current state of knowledge on this point, not only for the classic animal models for work on aging, 'the' nematode, fruit fly, and mouse, but also for lesser-known breeds including plants." --Science

"This theory and its more elaborate mathematical workings are dealt with by Michael Rose . . . . the experimental and comparative evidence in support of the theory are critically evaluated, with the not surprising conclusion that the evolutionary perspective is a powerful paradigm with which to understand the facts of aging. This review is more than competent and fills a long empty space on the evolutionary biological bookshelf." --Times Higher Education Supplement

"A welcome addition to the bookshelf . . . . forcefully champions the relevance of evolutionary theory to all aspects of research on this subject." --Nature

"If you are a researcher in aging, then you will want to have Michael Rose's book for its thought-provoking and encompassing synthesis of the theories of aging from the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist. . . .a stimulating evaluation of field observations of aging, experimental tests of aging theories, genetics of aging, and comparative studies of aging. . . .Useful and well worth its price. Certainly, there is nothing else available that so adequately brings together the evolutionary theories of aging and so competently evaluates them." --BioScience

"An important book. . . .A serious and sustained attempt to change the basis, content, and direction of a whole discipline. . . .It is clearly and concisely written by one who has achieved eminence both as a theoretician and as an experimenter. . . .From now on gerontological research will be 'after Rose'." --Evolution

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195095302
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

University of California, Irvine
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Table of Contents

1. The Evolutionary Theory of Aging
2. Observation of Aging
3. Experimental Tests of the Evolutionary Theory of Aging
4. Genetic Mechanisms Form the Evolution of Aging
5. Comparative Biology of Aging
6. An Evolutionary Perspective on Organismal Theories of Aging
7. An Evolutionary Perspective on Cellular and Molecular Theories of Aging
8. The Future of Gerontology

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