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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 50(3); 2007 > Article
Kim: Biology of Aging: Medical Perspective


Aging is the most familiar yet least understood aspect of human biology. It is usually defined as the time-dependent progressive loss of function leading to disability, dependence, morbidity, and mortality. Such a trait, which impairs the survival and fertility, is clearly disadvantageous for the individual, raising questions why and how it has evolved. Many theories have been proposed to explain the cause and mechanisms of aging; however, no single theory can clearly explain all the characteristics of aging, such as complexity, unpredictability, and diversity. Aging has been explained simply as an inevitable result of biological wear-and-tear. However, we now know that aging, like many other biological processes, is subject to the regulation by pathways that have been conserved during evolution. Changing the genes within these pathways can extend the life span dramatically. So it seems to be essential to investigate the multiplicity of mechanisms underlying aging to understand the biology in its essence.


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