The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging

July 16, 2010
Author:
Michael R. Rose
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (9/15/2005)

The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone AgingAmazon | Rose, an authority on gerontology, uses evolutionary biology to frame the problem of aging, contrasting the drive to reproduce in youth with the ability to survive into old age. In short, according to his research, the Victorians were right: sex is death. The evolutionary pressure of reproducing at an early age seems to have the side effect of causing early aging. Rose’s explanation of his theory is so clear, it seems ridiculous that anyone could have conceived of another explanation. But whether this theory will ever be used to slow down human aging is unclear. Rose relates the progress of aging research in an autobiographical format. So, interspersed with experiments on long-lived fruit flies, there are almost voyeuristic glimpses into Rose’s own life: the suicide of his brother, the murder of his brother-in-law, the tragic end of his first marriage. The result is a book that flops between the evocative stories of one man’s life in science and the somewhat drier explanation of that science. Nevertheless, Rose gives a balanced evaluation of the study of aging and sheds a little more light on one of biology’s greatest mysteries.