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Why Do We Age?

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About this Course

About the Course

In this lecture, Professor Luana Maroja (Williams College) poses the question: why do we age? Species that are around today have been evolving for millions of years, so surely evolution would ensure that individuals live longer (or indeed forever) to maximise the number of offspring they produce? To answer this question: (i) we first need to understand better the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the term ‘Darwinian Demon’; before (ii) understanding the biological theories of evolution that have intrigued scientists; following onto (iii) learning why these factors have not been ruled out by evolutionary pressures; before finally (iv) looking at examples of these evolutionary theories of aging in natural populations of possums and humans.

About the Lecturer

Professor Luana Maroja is an academic at Williams College, with a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She is interested in the evolution of barriers to gene exchange, speciation, population genetics and phylogeography. Her study systems are crickets (Gryllus), arctic plants and butterflies (heliconius). She currently teaches Genetics and Evolution, and her areas of expertise are in evolutionary genetics, speciation, landscape genetics.

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