Mutation Load and Aging
Mutations are responsible for all inherited variation. By definition, most mutations exert deleterious (harmful) effects on viability and reproduction of an organism, also known as Darwinian fitness. Therefore, following Crow and Kimura (1963), mutation load could be defined as “the proportion by which the fitness of the average genotype in the population is reduced (due to recurrent mutations) in comparison with the best genotype (relatively free from mutations).” Mutational theory of aging deals with the influence of one or more mutations on the life span of individuals.
Inherited variation is fundamental to evolution, and mutations are the major causes of phenotypic diversity at all levels of biological hierarchy of organisms, on which selection acts. All organisms have their own species-specific life span, defined as the average life expectancy between birth and...
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