Programmed Aging Theory Information Aging Theory Glossary


The following are definitions for terms used on this web site:

Active aging theory

Aging theory in which aging is the pro-active result of an evolved life span management or regulation system – same as adaptive aging.

Adaptive aging theory

Aging theory proposing that aging or other organism feature that purposely limits life span evolved because a limited life span creates group, kin, or evolvability benefit.

Antagonistic pleiotropy

Aging theory c 1957 in which an unknown individually beneficial trait incurs aging as an unavoidable side-effect due to pleiotropy.

Digital Genetics Study of information (digital data) aspects of inheritance mechanisms and implications for evolutionary mechanics.

Disposable soma theory

Aging theory c 1975 in which aging is an unavoidable side-effect of some trait that benefits reproduction.

Evolutionary mechanics

Mechanisms whereby evolutionary process operates e.g. natural selection.

Evolvability theory

Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1995 in which an organism’s capacity for evolution is a factor in the evolution process and benefit to evolvability can offset individual disadvantage.

Gene-oriented theory

Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1975 in which benefit to gene propagation can compensate for individual disadvantage.

Group selection

Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1962 in which group benefit can compensate for individual disadvantage.

Individual benefit

A benefit to the survival or reproductive ability of an individual organism or its direct descendents – required by traditional mechanics -- specifically excludes group, kin, evolvability, or gene-oriented benefit.

Kin selection

Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1964 in which benefit to close relatives can compensate for individual disadvantage.

Medawar’s hypothesis

Theory c 1952 that evolutionary disadvantage of aging or otherwise limited life span declines following age at which an organism is first capable of reproducing.

Modern Synthesis

Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1945 similar to neo-Darwinism.

Mutation accumulation

Theory c 1952 in which aging results from many adverse mutations all of which only cause significant adverse effects in late life.


Evolutionary mechanics theory c 1945 in which natural selection entirely defines evolution process; requires evolved traits to have individual benefit.


Inherited physical and behavioral characteristics of an organism.


Situation in which a single gene controls multiple phenotypic traits.

Programmed aging

Same as adaptive aging – aging is purposely genetically programmed.

Traditional mechanics

Evolutionary mechanisms as defined by pre-1962 evolutionary mechanics theory i.e. neo-Darwinism or Modern Synthesis.

Unavoidable side-effect

Situation in which the evolution process is unable to accomplish a particular beneficial function without incurring an adverse side-effect e.g. aging.

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