Author(s): Morris JA
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Abstract A hierarchical model of epithelial cell generation is proposed, in which even in extreme old age mature epithelial cells in humans are only a limited number of cell divisions from the zygote (60-120). This contrasts with conventional models in which regularly cycling stem cells can be several thousands of cell divisions from the zygote. The hierarchical model is supported by data on the rate of telomere shortening both in vivo and in vitro, and by data on the rate of synonymous substitutions in Y-linked, X-linked and autosomal genes in rodents. Limiting the number of cell generations leads to a vast reduction in the risk of cancer and reduces the rate of ageing. It is suggested that longer-lived animals need stricter control of the hierarchy than do shorter-lived animals and this difference has implications for theories of ageing. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.
This article was published in J Theor Biol
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics