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Survival of the Sickest Ch. 8
Transcript of Survival of the Sickest Ch. 8
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria (usually shortened to progeria) is a rapidly aging disease that starts at birth and usually ages a child ten times faster than normal aging. Nobody diagnosed with progeria has been known to live past 30 years of age. Wener syndrome also is a rapidly aging disease, but the genes that program for Werner syndrome do not activate until puberty has been reached. Individuals with Werner syndrome often live into their 50s.
Werner syndrome and progeria are referred to as orphan diseases because not much research has been done on them. These diseases are extremely rare, so scientists have not put much focus on Werner syndrome or progeria.
When cells divide, a small part of the DNA is lost. To combat the complete loss of DNA, cells have a blank portion of DNA at the end of the important DNA. This blank portion is called the telomeres of the cells. Eventually, the telomeres run out and cells can no longer divide, producing the Hayflick limit. Cancer cells get around the Hayflick limit with the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase lengthens the telomeres on the cancer cells, making the cells essentially "immortal."
Why must you and your iPod die?
iPods and humans must die for similar reasons: to allow for evolution (newer and better models for iPods, better adaptations for humans) to occur. Aging and dieing promotes evolution by clearing out the sickly individuals and making room for the better individuals.
Aging occurs to make room for better adapted individuals to pass on their genetics. Aging also occurs to protect the species by ridding of parasite-infested and sickly individuals so they may not pass on their disadvantageous traits.
iPod and Aging Analogy
The author uses the iPod analogy to explain aging and explain why aging must occur. Aging is an important part of evolution because like an iPod, older humans must be cleared out to allow room for better-adapted humans, much like older iPods die to make way for newer, improved iPod models. Aging and dying iPods are also alike in the sense that "bad" models of iPods infested with bugs and glitches die out much like parasite infested and sickly humans die out.
The Hayflick limit is the number of times a cell divides before it stops. This limit is thought to be in place as an evolutionary defense mechanism against cancer (the uncontrolled division of cells).
Human childbirth is different in three different aspects than any other primates: it is riskier, takes longer, and is more painful.
Chapter 8: Why You and Your iPod Must Die
By: Mariah and Jamie
Progeria & Lamin A: Progeria is a rapid aging disease caused by the mutation of the protein lamin A, which is responsible for structural support of the nuclear membrane.
Hayflick limit & Telomeres: The Hayflick is the limit of the number of times a cell divides, which is directly influenced by the telomeres, which minimize DNA information loss.
Cancer Cells & Stem Cells: Both cancer cells and stem cells use telomerase to "fix" their telomeres and become essentially immortal.
Size & Life Expectancy: There seems to be a direct correlation between the size of a species and the life expectancy - the larger the species, the longer it tends to live.
Risky Childbirth & Big Brains and Bipedalism: Childbirth is risky in humans because the pelvic bone has been adapted for bipedalism, or walking on two feet, making the birth canal narrow. Humans have big brains, and therefore big skulls, so a wide skull must fit through the narrow opening of the birth canal.
There are five lines of cancer defense within your body:
1. Specific genes for tumor suppresion
2. Genes responsible for creating specialized "cancer hunters" programmed to seek and destroy cancer cells
3. Genes responsible for repairing the cancer fighting genes
4. Apoptosis, or cell suicide when a cell detects it has become abnormal
5. The Hayflick limit
Savannah vs. Aquatic Ape Hypotheses
The Savannah hypothesis and the aquatic ape hypothesis are both hypotheses on how humans came to evolve to walk on two legs (instead of four) and no fur. The Savannah hypothesis says our ape ancestors migrated from the forest to the plains of Africa and adapted to better hunt in the savannah. The aquatic ape hypothesis, however, challenges this by pointing out the Savannah theory is revolved only around adult males, but women and children are a huge part of the species as well. The aquatic ape hypothesis states that we evolved from apes that lived both on land and in and around water.
In a nutshell, biogenic obsolescence is the programmed aging and eventual death of an organism, such as humans. This programming helps further the evolution of the species as a whole by riding of older, sickly, parasite-infested humans and making room for newer, better-adapted humans, as this was pointed out and emphasized earlier.