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  • Rommel Bezerra de Andrade

Is Senescence Reversible?

The article of 08/13/2016 on The Economist about humans trying to cheat death with stem cells, growing organs from almost nothing and gene-editing techniques stayed with us due to its serious ethical implications. Fortunately, it made us review John Palka's post of 05/15/16 on his excellent blog: Nature's Depths, where he presented a brilliant summary of What is Life. First, we tend to forget that some trees have already been prolonging their lives for over 5,000 years. Other plants keep changing and evolving to very different beings than the original organisms, be it by human interference or simply by adjusting themselves to the environment. Now, when we consider that life is simply a continuation of the previous generation and that at the cellular level there is no interruption of life, we may truly start asking what is this all about. We do know that life has evolved from the combination of bacteria and their hosts, with the subsequent mutual adjustment to continue in symbiosis. It may have started with chemical reactions that synthesized amino acids and other organic compounds from inorganic precursors and phospholipids. Some say that our bodies are just disposable vessels for the carriage of genes from one generation to another. Should we try to change the rules?

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