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Senescence of multicellular individuals: imbalance of epigenetic and non-epigenetic information in histone modifications

By Felipe A. Veloso

Posted 28 Apr 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/310300

Cellular aging has been progressively elucidated by science. However, aging at the multicellular-individual level is still poorly understood. A recent theory of individuated multicellularity describes the emergence of crucial information content for cell differentiation. This information is mostly conveyed in the non-epigenetic constraints on histone modifications near transcription start sites. According to this theory, the non-epigenetic content emerges at the expense of the information capacity for epigenetic content. However, it is unclear whether this "reassignment" of capacity continues after adulthood. To answer this question, I analyzed publicly available high-throughput data of histone H3 modifications and mRNA abundance in human primary cells. The results show that the "reassignment" continues after adulthood in humans. Based on this evidence, I present a falsifiable theory describing how continued "reassignment" of information capacity creates a growing epigenetic/non-epigenetic information imbalance. According to my theoretical account, this imbalance is the fundamental reason why individuated multicellular organisms senesce.

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