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The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195179392
ISBN-10: 0195179390
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rose, an authority on gerontology, uses evolutionary biology to frame the problem of aging, contrasting the drive to reproduce in youth with the ability to survive into old age. In short, according to his research, the Victorians were right: sex is death. The evolutionary pressure of reproducing at an early age seems to have the side effect of causing early aging. Rose's explanation of his theory is so clear, it seems ridiculous that anyone could have conceived of another explanation. But whether this theory will ever be used to slow down human aging is unclear. Rose relates the progress of aging research in an autobiographical format. So, interspersed with experiments on long-lived fruit flies, there are almost voyeuristic glimpses into Rose's own life: the suicide of his brother, the murder of his brother-in-law, the tragic end of his first marriage. The result is a book that flops between the evocative stories of one man's life in science and the somewhat drier explanation of that science. Nevertheless, Rose gives a balanced evaluation of the study of aging and sheds a little more light on one of biology's greatest mysteries.
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"Engaging and illuminating.... Rose is successful both in capturing the imagination of young people with little exposure to formal science and in convincing advanced researchers in other fields that understanding evolutionary biology is important to their science and to their careers. This is a significant achievement."--American Scientist

"Well-written and entertaining.... Rose's innovative studies of the past 25 years have revealed much about the influence of natural selection on aging and have opened up several intriguing possibilities for extending human lives. Here he relates how many of his most significant discoveries were made, interlacing lucid explanations of their significance with interesting accounts of how his own sometimes difficult life experiences influenced his research, and frankly discusses his failures and successes."--Library Journal

"In this hugely enjoyable book, Rose provides a thorough but never too technical survey of one of the most instructive strands of the biology of aging--manipulating the rate of aging by accelerating evolution. If his attempt to extend his studies to mice had succeeded, we might be much closer now to extending human lifespan."--Aubrey de Grey

"Michael Rose is more qualified than anyone currently working in the field of aging to write about the evolutionary development of aging in biological organisms, and he presents us here with a clear, easy-to-digest overview of the field. We meet the leaders and the busy-bee scientists; the believers and the nay-sayers. His final summary of the possibilities for postponing human aging is one of the most accurate and believable to appear in recent years. But most of all, Rose gives us a sense of what it is like to be a living, working scientist. Far and away one of the best-rounded, deeply satisfying accounts of a scientist and his work I have read. Warts and all!" --William R. Clark, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Sex and the Origins of Death and A Means to an End

"Michael Rose has developed novel and important views on the future of human longevity that draw from his pioneering laboratory experiments and his deep understanding of evolutionary biology. Rose's leads his readers on a fascinating journey from fly cages to the Biosphere, and beckons to the future which may not be so far ahead." --Caleb E. Finch, ARCO/ Keischnick Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, and author of Chance, Development and Aging

"Rose is not only an original scientist--he was among the first to demonstrate the extraordinary plasticity of aging in fruit flies after just a dozen generations of selective breeding--he is also a superb writer, and this book can be understood by anyone who ever took high school biology. But even those of us who are professional scientists will enjoy reading this book because of the global perspective he provides on the whole field of gerontology. By carefully reviewing his decades-long career with all the blind alleys that are commonplace for anyone who pioneers a new field, Rose gives us this perspective." --L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, and Stem-Cell Researcher at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195179390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195179392
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,102,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is mostly a memoir about Professor Rose's career as an evolutionary biologist who studies aging in fruit flies and extrapolates that knowledge to humans. The "Long Tomorrow" in the title refers to his belief that "it is still reasonable to hope that eventually the great mass of people will be able to control their aging through pharmaceuticals and medicine." (p. 134)

Rose sees senescence as being the inadvertent product of the evolutionary process. There is no single gene that controls aging. Instead hundreds of genes are involved so that the prospect of a single elixir or technique being developed that would magically postpone aging and death is highly unlikely. Almost as an aside and incidentally, Rose explains why we age and eventually die. His is the standard view that the evolutionary process becomes less and less in force as we get further and further from the onset of our reproductive age until "the force" (as he calls it) is not in effect at all.

This is a very tricky and subtle argument that takes a bit of reflection to fully understand. I know when I first encountered it some years ago I found it hard to follow. It is still very difficult to express. But let me give it a try.

Rose uses the analogy of Ford's Model T automobile. As the story goes Henry Ford wanted to know which parts of his cars almost never wore out. He found out what they were and directed his production staff to make them cheaper so that they would wear out at about the same time as the rest of the car, thereby making his cars cheaper to produce while increasing his profits without decreasing the longevity of his cars. Rose says that nature follows a similar parsimonious production with its organisms.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was amazing and awesome. You will learn a lot about aging from fruit flies. When I finished this book, I was surprised that a new author's first book was really good. I think biologist and scientist will enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Evolutionary biology attempts to explain how we age by looking at genes within our DNA that either allow or force our bodies to age. Unfortunately in nature's desire to populate the planet, it doesn't select for these genes as dominate. Nature makes us want to have offspring young. Just look at the teenage pregnancy rate.

Artificially we have learned that selective breeding in race horses, show dogs, prize winning cattle, and other animals have produced new animals with desirable traits. Dr. Rose's research used fruit flies to produce new generations that lived longer.

Could similar selective breeding in humans produced a longer lived race. Probably, but it would take centuries. Can we extend longevity through diet, drugs and medicine - yes, we already have, and are continuing to do so. Combining all of this, Dr. Rose has written a book that summarized the current state of knowlege in the field.

The science fiction readers of Robert Heinlein's Lazarus Long books reflect a similar story, the hero is the result of centuries of such breeding.
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