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Aging and Disease    2010, Vol. 1 Issue (2) : 139-146     DOI:
Old age as a privilege of the “selfish ones”
Mladen Davidovic1, Goran Sevo2, Petar Svorcan1, Dragoslav P. Milosevic1, Nebojsa Despotovic1, Predrag Erceg1, *
1Chair of Gerontology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia
2Institute for Gerontology, Belgrade, Serbia
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In the past couple of centuries, scientists proposed great number of aging theories but neither of them appears to be fully satisfactory. In the statistical sense, we are dealing with an even greater challenge because large array of factors affects the aging process. Although at this point the most of these factors are well known, it is the very fact of their innumerability that complicates approaches to the issue at hand. Both in life and in medicine, the cause behind an effect can rarely be unequivocally determined. Thus, it appears that through out human history longevity has been primarily affected by eradication of diseases, especially by eradication of infectious diseases and introduction of the vaccines. For that reason, maybe we should not be referring to this issue as the «fountain of youth» but rather as the «vaccine of youth». The postulate that genetic instability is the precipitating factor both of aging and cancer has withstood many tests and keeps on being reaffirmed. For this reason, it is legitimate to pose a question of whether long-lived individuals may be those with «selfish» genes and more stable genetic material. They certainly cannot avoid aging, but aging in such individuals could be delayed due to steady character of their genome, which is less susceptible to mutations. On the population level, they constitute minority because stable genome would represent an obstacle to successful evolution of the species. If this was not the case, we might not be writing all these texts today.

Keywords aging      genetic instability      elderly      longevity      intra-individual variability     
Corresponding Authors: Predrag Erceg   
Issue Date: 01 February 2010
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Mladen Davidovic
Goran Sevo
Petar Svorcan
Dragoslav P. Milosevic
Nebojsa Despotovic
Predrag Erceg
Cite this article:   
Mladen Davidovic,Goran Sevo,Petar Svorcan, et al. Old age as a privilege of the “selfish ones”[J]. Aging and Disease, 2010, 1(2): 139-146.
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