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Cellular Noise and the Aging Process

It is generally accepted among scientists that cellular aging is an irreversible process that is poorly understood. Several theories, including telomere shortening, have been proposed as possible explanations for this phenomenon. Greenwood et al. observed a correlation between the reactivation of genes on inactive X-chromosomes and age. Motivated by these studies, we propose two mathematical models to investigate the progression of aging. In the first approach, we study the dynamics of aging using a discrete time model based on competition between "errored" and "error-free" cells. Our preliminary results suggest the existence of three qualitative dynamic outcomes. These outcomes are best described by exclusion and coexistence under two dynamically distinct scenarios. In order to incorporate a more biologically accurate framework, we consider a stage-structured matrix model that allows for the incorporation of stage-dependent vital rates. These rates are important as the rates change with the accumulation of "errors".

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Tommy Begay, Arizona State University
Nick Dowdall, Santa Rosa Junior College
Mat Gluck, University of California at Riverside
Olaoluwa Okunola, University of the District of Columbia