Most of the DNA in the human genome does not encode proteins but is
involved in regulatory functions. In addition, the human genome is
characterized by an extensive array of structural DNA variants
arising from de novo mutations plus accumulated structural variants
transmitted through an individual's lineage. The result is that
each person has a unique genome which is expressed as that person's
unique phenotype. Ageing can be understood on both the species and
individual level. Each species has a programmed ageing and
mortality pattern, but within those broad species-specific
boundaries there is considerable individual variation. At the
individual level, ageing reflects the integrated effects of that
individual's unique mix of DNA structural variants, unique
experience-specific epigenetic marks and imperfectly repaired
genomic and cellular damage. This book examines human "chronic
degenerative" diseases which are not diseases, but rather
variations of the ageing process across individuals.
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