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A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make. Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies

9. DEATH Previous | Next

Evolution’s problem with self-destruction

WHY do living things die? Obviously, things kill each other – that’s part of the natural order. But what causes “natural” death? It is a question that splits biologists. It has become like a game of ping pong – over the years, theories have been batted back and forth as new evidence comes to light.

One answer is that death is simply necessary – to avoid overcrowding, for instance. But evolution doesn’t – can’t – select for a “death switch” because evolution is supposed to be all about the individual. And yet there does seem to be a death switch – researchers have managed to locate genetic switches that massively extend the lifespan of some nematode worms.

That might seem a long way removed from where we’re at, but there are vertebrates that live a very, very long time. Blandings Turtles, just don’t seem to get old and decrepit, for example. Teasing out why that might be is a tricky job – but potentially worth it.

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Subject User Posted No of Posts Last Post
And the death switch shall help us live longer. Lateralxfer 11/08/2008 06:23 1 11/08/2008 06:23
More evidence we might beat ageing Michael Brooks 25/07/2008 07:53 1 25/07/2008 07:30
Dawkins vs Wilson Michael Brooks 25/07/2008 06:54 1 25/07/2008 06:54
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