Somatic mutations and aging: a re-evaluation

Mutat Res. 2000 Jan 17;447(1):117-35. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(99)00202-x.


Aging has been explained in terms of an accumulation of mutations in the genome of somatic cells, leading to tissue atrophy and neoplasms, as well as increased loss of function. Recent advances in transgenic mouse modeling and genomics technology have created, for the first time, the opportunity to begin testing this theory. In this paper the existing evidence for a possible role of somatic mutation accumulation in aging will be re-evaluated on the basis of the evolutionary logic of aging and recent insights in genome structure and function. New strategies for investigating the relationship between genome instability, mutation accumulation and aging will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging, Premature / genetics
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics
  • Cytogenetics
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation*
  • Telomerase / genetics


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Telomerase