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REVIEW: How Justified is the Assumption of Programmed Aging in Reminiscence of Weismann’s Theories?

Patrick R. Winterhalter1,a* and Andreas Simm1

1Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received October 2, 2021; Revised November 30, 2021; Accepted December 15, 2021
Theories about the benefits of death and the resulting increased likelihood of programmed aging are controversial, advocated only by a minority. The extent to which their assumptions might be justified should be investigated. To this end, various approaches to the possible utility or origin were considered, particularly potential benefits of the faster generational change caused by possible evolutionary compound interest. Reference was made to the thinking of Weismann, the father of regulated aging theories, who advocated non-adaptive concepts at the end of his career. In a thought experiment, circadian rhythms are discussed as a possible molecular source of aging regulation.
KEY WORDS: August Weismann, aging theory, programmed aging, semelparity, MASON model, circadian rhythm, clock genes

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922010047