Rate Of Living Theory Essay

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The Rate of Living Theory The rate of living theory has a long history, dating as early back as Aristotle in 350 BC. However it wasn’t until 1908, when Rubner showed that, despite the varying life-spans of the 5 different mammalian species tested, each gram of body tissue expended the same amount of energy (~200 calories) before it died; that the theory gained any traction. In his book, published in 1922, a scientist called Raymond Pearl proposed that if we only have a set energy expenditure in a life-time, then surely using energy up faster will decrease longevity; and from this, the ‘Rate of Living’ theory was born. This theory, as stated by Pearl, postulates that the life-span of an organism is governed by a genetically pre-determined metabolic potential and the metabolic rate of that organism. According to Pearl, smaller animals with fast metabolisms should die young, and the opposite would be true for large animals. In order to test this theory, many experiments investigating how longevity is affected by metabolism, for example by changing temperature or amount of exercise undertaken, have been conducted over the years, with conflicting results. In support of this theory, it has been shown that decreased metabolism gave increased longevity in C.elegans(Van Voorhies and Ward 1999; Conti 2008). However, in higher animals such as rats, the data…show more content…
For example, rats and pigeons are of similar size and have similar metabolic rates. According to the former, they should have similar life-spans, yet pigeons live up to 10 times as long as rats. In support of the latter, pigeons have been shown to produce 30% less ROS than rats(Herrero and Barja 1997) indicating that higher levels of ROS are deleterious to lifespan. Decreased ROS production and longevity were again linked more recently, in further support of the Oxidative Damage theory of aging(Finkel and Holbrook

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