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Gradual senescence, the accumulation of damage 55

Throughout their lives, living beings suffer many different kinds of damage which their organism attempts to rectify through its defense and repair mechanisms. At some point however, these mechanisms no longer manage to repair all of the damage fast enough. The damage then accumulates until it fatally obstructs the organism’s functions. But where does this damage come from? It is important to know that every time a cell divides into two, its DNA does as well; this very complex process allows the DNA to read and copy itself on its own. This copying process is called ‘replication’ and the reading process ‘translation’. A poor copy, or the accidental omission of certain sequences lead to a genetic mutation. This mutation can be responsible for the flawed assembly of proteins, and therefore lead to illnesses or premature aging.

It is estimated that between 70,000 and 100,000 separate occurrences damage DNA each day. Thankfully, our organism is able to repair this damage as soon as it appears, thanks to an extremely quick and efficient maintenance service. But starting around 30 years of age, things begin to change! Repairs aren’t as quick anymore, delays build up, and when DNA duplicates, it now does so with mistakes which have not been fixed. Poor quality duplication also means poor quality proteins, with all of the negative consequences which that entails for our health.

These incidents have a dual origin: they are, on the one hand, due to external factors, through the interactions of living things with their environment and, on the other hand, due to internal factors, through the deterioration of the organism caused by its own operation.


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