Ageing is widely believed to be a non-adaptive process that results from a decline in the force of natural selection. However, recent studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae are consistent with the existence of a programme of altruistic ageing and death. We suggest that the similarities between the molecular pathways that regulate ageing in yeast, worms, flies and mice, together with evidence that is consistent with programmed death in salmon and other organisms, raise the possibility that programmed ageing or death can also occur in higher eukaryotes.
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We thank C. E. Finch for careful review of the manuscript and helpful suggestions.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Longo, V., Mitteldorf, J. & Skulachev, V. Programmed and altruistic ageing. Nat Rev Genet 6, 866–872 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg1706
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