A unified framework for evolutionary genetic and physiological theories of aging

Jean François Lemaître*, Jacob A. Moorad, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Alexei A Maklakov, Daniel H Nussey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Why and how we age are 2 intertwined questions that have fascinated scientists for many decades. However, attempts to answer these questions remain compartmentalized, preventing a comprehensive understanding of the aging process. We argue that the current lack of knowledge about the evolution of aging mechanisms is due to a lack of clarity regarding evolutionary theories of aging that explicitly involve physiological processes: the disposable soma theory (DST) and the developmental theory of aging (DTA). In this Essay, we propose a new hierarchical model linking genes to vital rates, enabling us to critically reevaluate the DST and DTA in terms of their relationship to evolutionary genetic theories of aging (mutation accumulation (MA) and antagonistic pleiotropy (AP)). We also demonstrate how these 2 theories can be incorporated in a unified hierarchical framework. The new framework will help to generate testable hypotheses of how the hallmarks of aging are shaped by natural selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3002513
Number of pages38
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2024


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