Ageing genes: gerontogenes

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The idea of gerontogenes is in line with the evolutionary explanation of ageing as being an emergent phenomenon as a result of the imperfect maintenance and repair systems. Although evolutionary processes did not select for any specific ageing genes that restrict and determine the lifespan of an individual, the term ‘gerontogenes’ primarily refers to any genes that may seem to influence ageing and longevity, without being specifically selected for that role. Such genes can also be called ‘virtual gerontogenes’ by virtue of their indirect influence on the rate and process of ageing. More than 1000 virtual gerontogenes have been associated with ageing and longevity in model organisms and humans. The ‘real’ genes, which do influence the essential lifespan of a species, and have been selected for in accordance with the evolutionary life history of the species, are known as the longevity assurance genes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Life Sciences (eLS)
Number of pages5
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
Publication yearJan 2018
ISBN (Electronic)9780470015902
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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