The nature of aging and the geroscience hypothesis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Aging is observed in both living things and inanimate objects. The time-dependent, progressive deterioration of both living and nonliving things eventually results in nonfunctionality and, in the case of living things, death. In both cases functional immortality can be achieved by incorporating repair and replacement mechanisms into the system. Nevertheless, repair and replacement mechanisms, even though they act for some period of time, do not necessarily confer immortality. In many species, a distinction can be made between the soma (body) and germ line. The soma has maintenance mechanisms that do not confer immortality, while the germ line does. In this chapter, the reasons for this distinction are explored. The processes that comprise the deterioration of the soma are discussed. The geroscience hypothesis states that, if the deterioration mechanisms common to many or most tissues are known, therapeutic strategies that target those processes could alter the course of aging and have beneficial effects on the incidence or progression of multiple late-life diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Biology of Aging
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780128159620
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Damage
  • Germ line
  • Geroscience
  • Immortality
  • Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Soma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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