Although species longevity is subject to a diverse range of selective forces, the mortality curves of a wide variety of organisms are rather similar. We argue that aging and its universal characteristics may have evolved by means of a gradual increase in the systemic interdependence between a large collection of biochemical or mechanical components. Modeling the organism as a dependency network which we create using a constructive evolutionary process, we age it by allowing nodes to be broken or repaired according to a probabilistic algorithm that accounts for random failures/repairs and dependencies. Our simulations show that the network slowly accumulates damage and then catastrophically collapses. We use our simulations to fit experimental data for the time dependent mortality rates of a variety of multicellular organisms and even complex machines such as automobiles. Our study suggests that aging is an emergent finite-size effect in networks with dynamical dependencies and that the qualitative and quantitative features of aging are not sensitively dependent on the details of system structure.
Increased Network Interdependency Leads to Aging
Dervis Can Vural, Greg Morrison, L. Mahadevan