Somatic Mutation and DNA Damage

The broad concept of this category of aging theories is that the integrity of the genome is the controlling factor in the aging process and therefore that either mutations (changes in the polynucleotide sequence that remain uncorrected) or DNA damage (chemical alterations in the double-helical structure that are not fully repaired) underlies the aging process and determine its rate. The theory that aging occurs due to either somatic mutation or DNA damage belongs to the class of stochastic theories of aging that assumes that an accumulation of environmental insults eventually reaches a level incompatible with life, primarily because of genetic damage. Somatic mutation occurs in day-to-day cell replication (43). It is generally concluded that there is currently little evidence to support the notion that either somatic mutation or DNA damage underlies the diseases and dysfunctions of aging.

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