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, 126 (3), 439-43

What Accounts for the Wide Variation in Life Span of Genetically Identical Organisms Reared in a Constant Environment?

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What Accounts for the Wide Variation in Life Span of Genetically Identical Organisms Reared in a Constant Environment?

Thomas B L Kirkwood et al. Mech Ageing Dev.

Abstract

Individual organisms show marked variability in life span, even when they are of the same genotype and are raised in a common environment protected from extrinsic hazards. This intrinsic variability of life span is thought to arise from the stochastic nature of the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling development and ageing. In this article we review what is currently understood about the factors underlying the variability of life span and consider the implications for research that aims to improve the predictability of health in old age.

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