NDA Findings 21

Trajectories of senescence through Markov models
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David Steinsaltz, University of Oxford

Finding Synopsis

Ageing is a process that occurs on many scales: Time scales, ranging from the millisecond rate of DNA transcription and duplication, to the megayear rate of evolution; and size scales, from molecules through cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and populations. This project has been directed to developing statistical and mathematical techniques to bridge the gaps between some of these scales, combining instantaneous behaviour measures in flies with survival information to understand the trajectories of senescence; combining age-specific survival and reproductive success for wild populations with random environmental change and evolutionary tends; exploring the link between models of organism vitality as it develops over a lifetime and the “plateaux” in mortality rate that are seen in the oldest old across a wide range of species, where the increasing frailty with age seems to slow down or even stop.

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