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When and How Can Death Be an Adaptation?

Galimov, ER; Lohr, JN; Gems, D; (2019) When and How Can Death Be an Adaptation? Biochemistry (Moscow) , 84 (12-13) pp. 1433-1437. 10.1134/S0006297919120010. Green open access

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Abstract

The concept of phenoptosis (or programmed organismal death) is problematic with respect to most species (including humans) since it implies that dying of old age is an adaptation, which contradicts the established evolutionary theory. But can dying ever be a strategy to promote fitness? Given recent developments in our understanding of the evolution of altruism, particularly kin and multilevel selection theories, it is timely to revisit the possible existence of adaptive death. Here, we discuss how programmed death could be an adaptive trait under certain conditions found in organisms capable of clonal colonial existence, such as the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and, perhaps, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The concept of phenoptosis is only tenable if consistent with the evolutionary theory; this accepted, phenoptosis may only occur under special conditions that do not apply to most animal groups (including mammals).

Type: Article
Title: When and How Can Death Be an Adaptation?
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1134/S0006297919120010
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1134/S0006297919120010
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: adaptive death, aging, altruism, C. elegans, evolution, inclusive fitness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089798
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