What is Death?

So far I have looked at life from the viewpoint of information. If so, what happens if death is interpreted in terms of information?

Life accumulates errors in the body through the process of reproduction to maintain life. Over time, the amount of error that needs to be processed increases, and the energy required to process it also increases. In the process, there are many replicas that do not function properly. If the life can't maintain the integrity of the whole organism, the homeostasis is broken, which leads to death.

Leonard Hayflick discovered that cultured normal human cells have limited capacity to divide, after which they become senescent. This is called ‘Hayflick limit’. So far, cultured human cells seem able to replicate no more than 40 to 60 times. The Hayflick limit is now known to be related to the length of the telomere that rests at the end of the DNA. While the DNA is replicated, the small segments of DNA, telomere, are not cloned and disappear after the DNA is cloned. The telomere region does not have any code for any protein, it is simply a repetitive code. After many cell divisions, telomeres become shorter and eventually lead to cell death. Telomere's role is believed to prevent replication errors that cause DNA mutations. Once the telomeres are shortened above a certain level, the cells no longer divide. What if the telomere is not shortened for some reason? In fact, there are cells where this happens, and that is cancer cells. They have an enzyme called telomerase that keeps the length of the telomere and allows it to continue to divide. To put it another way, our cells did not reproduce infinitely to inhibit cancer cells that might appear, but rather set their lifespan for organic cooperation between the cells that make up our body. Cancer cells that can kill us are born by mutation, which is ultimately the result of information errors that appear when we reproduce. In other words, the perfect processing of information is impossible. In other words, can human cells be set to 'Hayflick limit' so as not to exceed the capacity limit of error processing?

As the cell divides the telomeres on the end of the chromosome get smaller. credit: Wikipedia

We humans are a system of networks of these cells. Our oldest ancestor probably originated in a single primitive cell. Then, how could the first cell of the beginning be born? Let's talk about this in the next post.


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