Genomes optimize reproduction: aging as a consequence of the developmental program

Physiology (Bethesda). 2005 Aug;20:252-9. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00010.2005.


Natural selection shapes genomes for reproduction, not for postreproductive survival. One hypothesis then is that the developmental program, optimized for reproduction, inadvertently regulates aging in mammals. Herein we review, revive, and refine the developmental theory of aging. Implications and experimental approaches for studying the progressive deterioration of physiological function that we call aging are also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Reproduction / genetics*