How evolution works

Jim Bowery jabowery at netcom.com
Fri Jun 10 14:56:09 EST 1994

venezia at zgi.com (Domenick Venezia) writes:
> On 09 June Cathy Woodgold writes:
> >I'm imagining an inividual who takes drugs to lengthen the telomeres in the
> >cells of his/her body so that he/she can live a long time.  My point is that
> >the individual will inevitably get cancer unless some powerfull way of
> >controlling it is found.  (Other people on this newsgroup have been making
> >this same point.)
> Yes, I agree.  Bruce Ames says that cancer goes up with the fifth power of
> age.  Bottom line: if you live long enough cancer will get you.  But I am
> not sure that it follows that if we extend life through telomeric extension,
> i.e., the suppression of cellular senescence, that the occurrance of cancer 
> would follow the same power function. 

Understanding how telomerase-based longevity might be induced without cancer
requires understanding the point that Domenick brings up as well as the
regulatory mechanisms already in place for cells that use telomerase in 
our bodies at present.  If telomerase-based longevity is so cancer-prone,
then why isn't everyone wandering around with bone-marrow cancer?
The promotion of politics exterminates apolitical genes in the population.
  The promotion of frontiers gives apolitical genes a route to survival.

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