Is Aging an Accident of Evolution? Stanford Scientists Say “Yes”

July 30, 2008 at 7:45 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

“Everyone has assumed we age by rust. But how do you explain animals that don’t age? Some tortoises lay eggs at the age of 100, there are whales that live to be 200 and clams that make it past 400 years.”

Stuart Kim, PhD, Stanford University professor of developmental biology and genetics

Prevailing theory of aging challenged by Stanford University Medical School researchers. Their discovery contradicts the prevailing theory that aging is a buildup of tissue damage similar to rust. The Stanford findings suggest specific genetic instructions drive the process. If they are right, science might one day find ways of switching the signals off and halting or even reversing aging.

“We were really surprised,” said Stuart Kim, who is the senior author of the research.

Kim’s lab examined the regulation of aging in C. elegans, a millimeter-long nematode worm whose simple body and small number of genes make it a useful tool for biologists. The worms age rapidly: their maximum life span is about two weeks.

Comparing young worms to old worms, Kim’s team discovered age-related shifts in levels of three transcription factors, the molecular switches that turn genes on and off. These shifts trigger genetic pathways that transform young worms into social security candidates.

The question of what causes aging has spawned competing schools, with one side claiming that inborn genetic programs make organisms grow old. This theory has had trouble gaining traction because it implies that aging evolved, that natural selection pushed older organisms down a path of deterioration. However, natural selection works by favoring genes that help organisms produce lots of offspring. After reproduction ends, genes are beyond natural selection’s reach, so scientists argued that aging couldn’t be genetically programmed.

The alternate, competing theory holds that aging is an inevitable consequence of accumulated wear and tear: toxins, free-radical molecules, DNA-damaging radiation, disease and stress ravage the body to the point it can’t rebound. So far, this theory has dominated aging research.

But the Stanford team’s findings told a different story. “Our data just didn’t fit the current model of damage accumulation, and so we had to consider the alternative model of developmental drift,” Kim said.

The scientists used microarrays—silicon chips that detect changes in gene expression—to hunt for genes that were turned on differently in young and old worms. They found hundreds of age-regulated genes switched on and off by a single transcription factor called elt-3, which becomes more abundant with age. Two other transcription factors that regulate elt-3 also changed with age.

To see whether these signal molecules were part of a wear-and-tear aging mechanism, the researchers exposed worms to stresses thought to cause aging, such as heat (a known stressor for nematode worms), free-radical oxidation, radiation and disease. But none of the stressors affected the genes that make the worms get old.

So it looked as though worm aging wasn’t a storm of chemical damage. Instead, Kim said, key regulatory pathways optimized for youth have drifted off track in older animals. Natural selection can’t fix problems that arise late in the animals’ life spans, so the genetic pathways for aging become entrenched by mistake. Kim’s team refers to this slide as “developmental drift.”

“We found a normal developmental program that works in young animals, but becomes unbalanced as the worm gets older,” he said. “It accounts for the lion’s share of molecular differences between young and old worms.”

Kim can’t say for sure whether the same process of drift happens in humans, but said scientists can begin searching for this new aging mechanism now that it has been discovered in a model organism. And he said developmental drift makes a lot of sense as a reason why creatures get old.

“Everyone has assumed we age by rust,” Kim said. “But then how do you explain animals that don’t age?”

Some tortoises lay eggs at the age of 100, he points out. There are whales that live to be 200, and clams that make it past 400. Those species use the same building blocks for their DNA, proteins and fats as humans, mice and nematode worms. The chemistry of the wear-and-tear process, including damage from oxygen free-radicals, should be the same in all cells, which makes it hard to explain why species have dramatically different life spans.

“A free radical doesn’t care if it’s in a human cell or a worm cell,” Kim said.

If aging is not a cost of unavoidable chemistry but is instead driven by changes in regulatory genes, the aging process may not be inevitable. It is at least theoretically possible to slow down or stop developmental drift.

“The take-home message is that aging can be slowed and managed by manipulating signaling circuits within cells,” said Marc Tatar, PhD, a professor of biology and medicine at Brown University who was not involved in the research. “This is a new and potentially powerful circuit that has just been discovered for doing that.”

Kim added, “It’s a new way to think about how to slow the aging process.

——————————————————————————–

Imagine if this came to fruition in our lifetimes, pharmaceutical companies around the world would lose millions. All those anti aging creams, moisturizers etc etc, they may well become redundant. I guess this could end up like the
electric car, but here’s hoping. I’m holding out for 2012 now, maybe it’s the year we all wake up.

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The Fight for Whale rights continues!

July 29, 2008 at 9:32 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I got an email message from WSPA today saying how they had managed to make some major headway in the fight on whaling. They had found that 25% of whales killed in Greenland are sold commercially, resulting in significant profit and exploding the myth that their whaling quotas are purely subsistence based. Here’s what else they said:

Taking the truth to the decision-makers

At the end of June WSPA presented IWC commissioners with compelling evidence providing them with the information necessary to ensure a ‘no’ vote on June 26th from a majority 36 of the 65 voting nations.

This sent a powerful message to Greenland. Its effect was summed up by BBC journalist Richard Black: ‘In all my years at IWC I’ve never seen a report make such a difference to the direction of a meeting.’

WSPA’s Claire Bass commented on the vote from the IWC meeting: ‘This is fantastic news as fewer whales will be cruelly killed. WSPA’s investigation has given the IWC the information it needed to see through the myths of Greenlandic whaling and make the right decision.’

Speaking on the importance of the vote, she added: ‘This is a significant victory in a bigger campaign to end the slaughter of whales globally, and we will continue to work to end the cruelty of whaling.’


This was a ‘thankyou for your support’, email, which I like. Hey, I do what I can. That’s why put these WSPA posts up, it’s my way of making a few more people aware of what’s going on. So here’s another one, read and if you feel strongly about it the go the WSPA website and pledge your support. Go on, it’s worth it, I mean, do you think a whale would hurt you?

————————————————————————————-

Marine Mammals

People around the world recognise whales and dolphins as intelligent, majestic and awe-inspiring creatures. Yet this appreciation doesn’t stop the exploitation of these superb animals for food or human entertainment.

Sadly, whales and dolphins throughout the world have come under increasing attack in 2008.

Whales

All available evidence tells us there is no way to hunt and kill whales at sea without causing acute suffering. With no option for humane slaughter, WSPA calls for a stop to all commercial whaling.

Visibility, sea swells and movements of the boat and whale make it impossible to assure a lethal shot at sea. Whales can suffer for up to an hour before they succumb to the harpoons and rifles of the hunters.

We know this is how whales are killed. But we know little about their behaviours, intelligences and social groups under the waves.

WSPA believes that gaining an insight into the lives of whales is essential in understanding the full impacts of the hunts on these animals.

Why isn’t this cruelty banned?

Commercial whaling has been banned for more than twenty years. But some countries – like Norway, Japan and Iceland – continue to hunt whales.

This means around 2,500 whales are still killed every year in cruel and unnecessary hunts that cause intense pain and distress. Their meat is then sold commercially for human consumption.

Working for whale welfare

WSPA works to stop all commercial and scientific whaling by:

• Using diplomacy and public support to raise whale welfare up the agenda of the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting.

• Supporting and encouraging member societies in both pro- and anti-whaling countries in their campaigns against whaling on welfare grounds.

• Producing reports to back up our welfare claims and perspective with good science.

• Leading the Whalewatch network – a group of NGOs united by an opposition to whaling on welfare grounds. By sharing information and working together we are better able to promote the importance of whale welfare across the globe.

• Asking for help from you. Your support has helped WSPA prove to whaling nations and the IWC that whale welfare is important to the public.

Time to refocus

WSPA is urging the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which was formed to regulate whaling and conserve whale populations, to change its focus away from ‘managing’ how many are killed every year. Instead, we believe the Commission should instead concentrate on protecting whales.

“Our Time to Refocus report sets out our case,” explains Claire Bass, WSPA Marine Mammals Programme Manager. “Twenty years ago the IWC banned commercial whaling, but since then member nations have been locked in unproductive debates about the possible resumption of whaling.

“We want to reframe the debate. Rather than ‘how many whales can be killed sustainably, the key question must be, as whales cannot be killed humanely at sea, should they be hunted at all?”

We hope to see the IWC turn its attention to watching whales, and ‘non-lethal’ research to understand more about their behaviour and the environmental threats they face, such as climate change.

The growing popularity of whale watching provides clear evidence that the public are fascinated by these magnificent sea mammals. From small scale ventures to large scale commercial operations, whale watching is estimated to be a US$1.25 billion industry enjoyed by over 10 million people, in more than 90 countries each year.

WSPA has also published a new report Whaling: defying international commitments to animal welfare?, which asks why humane slaughter guidelines that international bodies accord to farm animals are absent from the whaling debate, when sound research proves there is no way to kill a whale at sea without causing intense suffering.

Dolphins

A similarly ominous fate awaits dolphins taken from the seas to spend their lives in captivity. Gone are their families, their freedom and the ability to travel dozens of miles daily exploring their ocean home. Instead, they are trapped, crammed into small enclosures and forced to override every natural instinct for the entertainment of cheering crowds. The suffering of performing dolphins can go on for decades.

The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity (pdf)

Solomon Islands

WSPA has called on the Solomon Islands to put a stop to its cruel dolphin industry and prevent any further capture of wild dolphins.

WSPA Australia and New Zealand Campaigns Manager Heather Potter said the Solomon Islands’ dolphin operation was being run in a very primitive fashion using the most basic of equipment.

“The dolphins are being captured in nets and hauled on board small boats where they are left lying on mattresses while being transported up to three hours to the pens,” she said.

“No studies have been done to determine the impact of these captures on the local dolphin population so it is ecologically irresponsible to catch them. But the capture and keeping in captivity of wild dolphins should also be stopped for humane reasons because of the suffering caused to the animals.”

Captive dolphins in New Zealand

After years of unnatural captivity and isolation from podmates, the one remaining dolphin at Napier Marineland on New Zealand’s north island is sadly close to death.

http://www.wspa.org.au

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ARIW: Saving the Whales

July 6, 2008 at 6:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Shocking … two minke whales are hauled aboard a Japanese whaler. Japanese authorities have denied reports the two were a mother and calf.
Photo: Courtesy Australian Customs

WSPA: Redefining the whaling debate

20 June 2008: WSPA will be at the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Chile next week, lobbying for the ban on commercial whaling to continue on welfare grounds and for a change in IWC focus.

The IWC, formed to regulate whaling and conserve whale populations, introduced a commercial ban in 1986. Since then, member nations have been locked in unproductive debates about the possible resumption of whaling.

Over 20 years on, WSPA wants to reframe the debate. Rather than ‘how many whales can be killed sustainably?’, the key question must be: ‘as whales cannot be killed humanely at sea, should they be hunted at all?’

Focus on the future: conservation and research

This year’s meeting offers an opportunity to tell whaling and non-whaling member nations that the time has come for the IWC to devote its resources to protecting these animals and encouraging a sustainable industry of whale watching, helping us understand more about how these creatures live. Read our Time to Refocus report >>

We have evidence that the public agree: in just two months over 34,200 people from 66 countries signed WSPA’s online letter calling for this change in focus and denouncing the cruelty of whaling.

WSPA is displaying Bryant Austin’s stunning photography at the meeting – see slideshow above – and giving a copy of our film The Hidden Lives of Whales to all IWC commissioners and national representatives. We hope the stunning images and unique footage will serve as a reminder of how much we still have to learn about these animals. Watch the film below.

A strong, sound call for change

Our new report – Whaling: defying international commitments to animal welfare? – asks why humane slaughter guidelines that international bodies accord to farm animals are absent from the whaling debate, when sound research proves there is no way to kill whales at sea without causing intense suffering.

WSPA will be asking commissioners to make the commercial ban permanent on these grounds.

We will also be calling on those nations defying the ban to provide full welfare data to the IWC. Withholding information prevents a full discussion about the welfare of hunted whales – which WSPA can prove is massively compromised – and ultimately hides the ugly truth.

You also have a voice. Please write to whaling nations and encourage them to turn away from unsustainable and cruel activities.

A says: Clearly I don’t like whaling, and so that’s why I posted this. If you don’t like whaling either than head to http://www.wspa.org.au for more information. Thanks.

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ARIW: Iceland resumes Whaling.

May 27, 2008 at 5:36 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )


Iceland has decided to resume whaling, again. This is another blow for Whales and animal rights and something needs to be done. Please read the article below and follow the link at the bottom to sign the petition and help put a stop to Whaling once and for all.

A.

WSPA is disappointed to report that the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries has made a retrograde step for animal welfare by issuing a commercial whaling quota for 40 minke whales in 2008.

In 2007 the Icelandic Fisheries Minister said that demand for whale meat was so low that they would not renew their quota. This move was greeted with enthusiasm from animal welfare and conservation groups worldwide.

However, in cruel hunts due to start today, 20 May, forty minke whales will be targeted using explosive harpoons that often fail to kill the whale straight away, resulting in intense suffering which can last over an hour.

In comparison to Norway and Japan’s hunts, Iceland’s quota is small. But WSPA believes that all whaling is unacceptable – whether it is one whale being killed or one thousand – for the simple reason that there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea .

Whales, not whaling

In recent years Iceland has seen the benefits of a growing whale watching industry, an activity which is far more sustainable and economically beneficial than whaling. The killing of these whales poses a threat to the reputation of a country which is trying to develop itself as a leader in ecotourism.

Iceland’s own Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of the damage this decision could do to Iceland’s international reputation and already fragile economy. Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir has been quoted as saying, “As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I believe this is sacrificing long term interests for short term gains, despite the quota being smaller than in previous years.”
WSPA urges the Icelandic Government to rethink this decision and focus on further developing their already profitable whale watching industry rather than hunting these fascinating creatures.

This is the message WSPA will be taking to all whaling nations at the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in June 2008.

http://www.advocacyonline.net/eactivist/user/userC.jsp?15275&EXAMIN=1

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ARIW: FUCK OFF JAPAN… LEAVE THE WHALES ALONE!!!!

May 13, 2008 at 10:33 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )


This disgusts me, I cannot believe they still do this shit, it is wrong and I for one think we need to make more people aware of what’s going on so we can put a stop to it. Can you believe this shit? They say they are going to be increasing their quota by 50 whales a year. I’m so outraged i’m seeing red here, Whales are beautiful creatures and SHOULD be left alone to live in peace. Didn’t they ever see Star Trek 4???

Anyways here’s something I found about Whaling, please read it and please take some action, do whatever you can and/or feel capable of.

A.

This group is aimed at the ICR & Japanese Government. It is a forum for people of our world to share their concerns about Japanese whaling.

We hope it will help exert regional pressure on Japan to cease its illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Please don’t join to turn it into a racial battleground.

Japan is singled out as it is the only country to have breached the:

– United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

– United Nations Charter on Nature,

– The Antarctic Treaty System,

– The Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) and

– The International Convention on the Regulation of
Whaling

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=223096

Lastly, Japan is also the ONLY country doing it under the pathetic lies of “Scientific Research”.

They are also the ONLY country not doing it in their own territorial waters… infact they have Ignored repeated pleas from Australian & New Zealander’s to halt the whale slaughter within their Economic Exclusion Zones.

OUR WHALES ARE DYING….

Japan kills more than 1,000 whales a year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary near Antarctica using a loophole in the international moratorium for a ban on whaling that allows catching whales for so called “research” purposes.

This year Japan is planning on expanding the catch to include 50 humpback whales, which are considered “endangered” in some regions of the world. The Japanese expedition also plans to kill 50 endangered fin whales – the world’s second largest animal after blue whales – as well as 935 smaller minke whales.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/whale-watch/outrage-as-whaling-fleet-heads-for-antarctic/2007/11/18/1195321608560.html

These waters are within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. The Australian Federal Court ruled on January 15 2008 that the Japanese whaling is illegal and should be stopped.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23056156-2,00.html

Don’t buy the argument that Japan’s motivation to continue whaling is about maintaining their culture or conducting scientific research as they claim….

Today, whale meat is hardly a popular food in Japan with roughly only 1% of the population eating it (Japan Today Newspaper). Running boats into the Southern ocean each year is costly and inefficient work for the Japanese for little financial gain.

As for the science argument, scientists globally have affirmed over and over again that any research could be, and in fact is, conducted without actually hacking these remarkable creatures to death in our oceans….

Basically every Pro-Whaling argument that has been put forward thus far has been refuted with facts, figures and scientific evidence.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=7251222651&topic=5175

The IWC, the body charged with governing whaling internationally, is a mess & needs an urgent Overhaul.

The IWC allocates equal voting power to all members, with decisions made on a three-quarters majority vote.

This ‘democratic’ nature of the Commission however has allowed Japan to buy the votes of weaker developing countries with aid packages and other financial incentives.

Even land locked developing countries such as Mongolia are joining the IWC & voting alongside Japan in favour of whaling. Japan has almost bought out enough votes in this way to overturn the Moratorium on Whaling, which would allow it to again conduct commercial whaling that once culled 90% of all whales!

http://www.iwcoffice.org/commission/iwcmain.htm

Clearly we need to think outside the IWC to put a stop to this tragic and archaic practice.

http://www.internationalwhaleprotection.org/

www.myspace.com/azumuthmusic

www.azumuth.com

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ARIW: FUCK OFF JAPAN… LEAVE THE WHALES ALONE!!!!

May 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )


This disgusts me, I cannot believe they still do this shit, it is wrong and I for one think we need to make more people aware of what’s going on so we can put a stop to it. Can you believe this shit? They say they are going to be increasing their quota by 50 whales a year. I’m so outraged i’m seeing red here, Whales are beautiful creatures and SHOULD be left alone to live in peace. Didn’t they ever see Star Trek 4???

Anyways here’s something I found about Whaling, please read it and please take some action, do whatever you can and/or feel capable of.

A.

This group is aimed at the ICR & Japanese Government. It is a forum for people of our world to share their concerns about Japanese whaling.

We hope it will help exert regional pressure on Japan to cease its illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Please don’t join to turn it into a racial battleground.

Japan is singled out as it is the only country to have breached the:

– United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

– United Nations Charter on Nature,

– The Antarctic Treaty System,

– The Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) and

– The International Convention on the Regulation of
Whaling

http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=223096

Lastly, Japan is also the ONLY country doing it under the pathetic lies of “Scientific Research”.

They are also the ONLY country not doing it in their own territorial waters… infact they have Ignored repeated pleas from Australian & New Zealander’s to halt the whale slaughter within their Economic Exclusion Zones.

OUR WHALES ARE DYING….

Japan kills more than 1,000 whales a year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary near Antarctica using a loophole in the international moratorium for a ban on whaling that allows catching whales for so called “research” purposes.

This year Japan is planning on expanding the catch to include 50 humpback whales, which are considered “endangered” in some regions of the world. The Japanese expedition also plans to kill 50 endangered fin whales – the world’s second largest animal after blue whales – as well as 935 smaller minke whales.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/whale-watch/outrage-as-whaling-fleet-heads-for-antarctic/2007/11/18/1195321608560.html

These waters are within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. The Australian Federal Court ruled on January 15 2008 that the Japanese whaling is illegal and should be stopped.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23056156-2,00.html

Don’t buy the argument that Japan’s motivation to continue whaling is about maintaining their culture or conducting scientific research as they claim….

Today, whale meat is hardly a popular food in Japan with roughly only 1% of the population eating it (Japan Today Newspaper). Running boats into the Southern ocean each year is costly and inefficient work for the Japanese for little financial gain.

As for the science argument, scientists globally have affirmed over and over again that any research could be, and in fact is, conducted without actually hacking these remarkable creatures to death in our oceans….

Basically every Pro-Whaling argument that has been put forward thus far has been refuted with facts, figures and scientific evidence.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=7251222651&topic=5175

The IWC, the body charged with governing whaling internationally, is a mess & needs an urgent Overhaul.

The IWC allocates equal voting power to all members, with decisions made on a three-quarters majority vote.

This ‘democratic’ nature of the Commission however has allowed Japan to buy the votes of weaker developing countries with aid packages and other financial incentives.

Even land locked developing countries such as Mongolia are joining the IWC & voting alongside Japan in favour of whaling. Japan has almost bought out enough votes in this way to overturn the Moratorium on Whaling, which would allow it to again conduct commercial whaling that once culled 90% of all whales!

http://www.iwcoffice.org/commission/iwcmain.htm

Clearly we need to think outside the IWC to put a stop to this tragic and archaic practice.

http://www.internationalwhaleprotection.org/

http://www.myspace.com/azumuthmusic

http://www.azumuth.com

Permalink Leave a Comment

Refocus on whales, not whaling

April 21, 2008 at 8:37 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Refocus on whales, not whaling  

 

As Japanese whalers continue their cruel and bloody hunt in the Southern Ocean, WSPA is calling on our supporters to add their name to a global petition which asks the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to shift its attention to whales – not whaling.

The IWC, which manages whale populations worldwide, could then devote its time to protecting whales and encouraging whale watching rather than focusing on allocating kill quotas to whaling nations.

Thousands of whales will be slaughtered this year alone, and many will endure slow and painful deaths. So please, make your voice heard for whales today.

You can find out more about the cruelty of whaling and sign the petition here.

http://www.wspa.org.au

www.myspace.com/azumuthmusic

 

 

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