Intercellular competition and the inevitability of multicellular aging

by Gunnar_Zarncke1 min read4th Nov 20173 comments


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We lay out the first general model of the interplay between intercellular competition, aging, and cancer. Our model shows that aging is a fundamental feature of multicellular life. Current understanding of the evolution of aging holds that aging is due to the weakness of selection to remove alleles that increase mortality only late in life. Our model, while fully compatible with current theory, makes a stronger statement: Multicellular organisms would age even if selection were perfect. These results inform how we think about the evolution of aging and the role of intercellular competition in senescence and cancer.

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Note I came across it via this link which is not really saying what they model:

Thanks. At some point I'll have to dig into this and see if the same math would apply to AI/robots or not. It might have implications into whether to try for singletons or not.

My first though was whether this might be applied to organisations (cells correspond to individuals and (multi-celled) organisms correspond to organisations). And what the differences are. Companies seem to change but not so much to age. My guess is that the assumption in the article doesn't hold there:

A central assumption of our work is that the distinction between c and v represents a natural categorization of cellular traits; that is, somatic mutations or other cellular degradation events tend to primarily affect only one of the two traits: cellular cooperation in the case of mutations to tumor suppressors and oncogenes and vigor in the case of basic cellular metabolism and other internal housekeeping functions.

And considering AI I think it would be quite possible to engineer it such that it wouldn't either.