Differential genetic advantages in youth and in aging, or how to die healthy
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Human society ages at a steady rate, that is, the proportion of adult and elderly individuals increases constantly because of improved living conditions and the advances in medical care. This means that very soon the tradeoff between the advantages in old age conferred by alleles disadvantageous or neutral in young age would begin to show, providing the fascinating opportunity of studying the interplay between genetic factors and environment outside the framework of reproductive capacity and in the unique milieu of the aging cell. Being healthy and/or health-conscious in youth does not guarantee for successful aging or even that the person would live up to the average life expectancy of the population. Therefore, successful aging and longevity are related to a healthy-conscious attitude to a degree only. The present paper reviews the basic genetic and evolutionary mechanisms which have operated during human history so as to ensure survival of humankind and the possible factors preventing or contributing to successful aging.