• Question: What makes people age and eventually die?

    Asked by ryaanngibbz to Jamie, Jodie, Kat, Mark, Niamh on 17 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Mark Hill

      Mark Hill answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      Hello ryaanngibbz,
      Good choice of name. So this is what you do between matches!

      I don’t know exactly why, but it is thought that there is, for want of a better phrase, an ageing gene. I understand that recently there have been some experiments to locate that gene, or genes, in rodents. When this gene is triggered, for whatever reason, so some of the regenerating properties of certain body tissues cease to function. Eventually we seem to wear out. I think.

      Perhaps someone else can help with this one
      However,, I am not so sure that I would want to live forever, even if a way of switching the gene off could be found. It would make for a very crowded planet, when earth’s resources are already stretched.

      Good question. One that I would like to know a lot more about.



    • Photo: Jodie Dunnett

      Jodie Dunnett answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      Wow, that is a deep question and not one that I can answer really – it is just how life is I suppose.

    • Photo: Jamie Pringle

      Jamie Pringle answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      Hello ryaanngibbz,

      Im not a biologist so I dont know the technical answer (perhaps one of my colleagues could help?), but as far as I know human cells when they get older dont replicate as well, your organs start to fail (especially your lungs if you smoke and your liver if you drink alcohol too much!) and your body eventually fails.

    • Photo: Niamh Nic Daeid

      Niamh Nic Daeid answered on 16 Mar 2011:

      Hi Ryaanngibbz

      Im not a biologist but as far as I know as you get older your cells and organs start to decrease in function until they eventually start to fail. For many people though aging is also a state of mind so you can still be enthusiastic about life even if your body is getting old. Staying fit and eating well also helps of course 🙂

    • Photo: Katherine Davies

      Katherine Davies answered on 17 Mar 2011:


      As far as I am aware, it is DNA degradation. Genes start becoming mutated over time, things stop working as they should, especially in the case of cancer. Heart attacks/strokes can be cause by blood clots in different parts of the body, which can be caused by bad diet. There are many different pathologies (diseases) which cause death in different ways.