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Cellular Theories of Aging

Cellular Theories of Aging

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Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


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There are multiple theories of aging, which include evolutionary, molecular, cellular, and systemic theories. The focus of this entry will be on the cellular theories of aging. There are two main categories of theories of cellular aging, error theories and programming theories. The error theories suggest that aging is a result of an accumulation of errors as an outcome of environmental insults that leads to damage at various levels of the cell. Error theories also propose that imperfect repair mechanisms are a factor that leads to cellular aging. The second category, programming theories, suggest that aging is a genetically programmed event. However, these two broad categories of theories are not mutually exclusive, for example, altered proteins can alter gene expression. Specific theories of aging from the two main categories will be discussed.


aging, altered proteins, cellular aging, error theories, gene expression, programming theories

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This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Cellular Theories of Aging