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MINI-REVIEW: Aging is a Side Effect of the Ontogenesis Program of Multicellular Organisms

Lev Salnikova,b

AntiCA Biomed San Diego, CA 92111 USA

Received August 16, 2022; Revised September 9, 2022; Accepted September 14, 2022
The review presents a brief outline of the current state of the main theoretical approaches to the aging problem. The works of authors, supporting the theory of “accumulation of errors” and theories stating the presence of a hypothetical “aging program” in all multicellular organisms are reviewed. The role of apoptosis and its connection with phenoptosis, as well as the theory of “hyperfunction” are analyzed. Our own approach to this problem is presented, in which aging is explained by the redistribution of limited resources between the two main aims of the organism: its self-sufficiency, based on the function of the housekeeping genes (HG) group, and functional specialization, provided by the integrative genes (IntG) group. Agreeing with the inseparable connection between aging and the ontogenesis program, the main role in the aging mechanisms is assigned to the redistribution of resources from the HG self-sufficiency genes to the IntGs necessary for the operation of all specialized functions of the organism as a whole. The growing imbalance between HGs and IntGs with age, suggests that switching of cellular resources in favor of IntGs is a side effect of ontogenesis program implementation and the main reason for aging, inherent in the nature of genome functioning under conditions of highly integrated multicellularity. The hypothesis of functional subdivision of the genome also points to the leading role of slow-dividing and postmitotic cells, as the most sensitive to reduction of repair levels, for triggering and realization of the aging process.
KEY WORDS: aging, theories, ontogenesis program, functional genome groups, housekeeping genes, specialized genes, methylation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922120070