This issue of Current Opinions focuses on the dual role of DNA in life and death. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god who looks both to the past and to the future. He guides the beginnings of life, its progression from one condition to another, and he foresees distant events. The analogy to DNA could not be stronger. Closely interacting with the environment, our basic genetics provides the origin of life, guides the quality of health with age, predicts disease, and ultimately foresees our end. A shared and deep interest with the origin of life has long prompted our desire to define aging, and, ultimately, to understand whether it can be reversed. In this special issue, the authors collectively review concepts of normative aging, DNA instability, DNA repair, the genetic contribution of age and diet to disease, and how the basic molecular transactions of DNA guide both the transitions to life as well as the transitions to death.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.