Ticking of epigenetic and senescence aging clocks in cosmic silence
Human aging has two long-discussed causes: epigenetic aging and senescence. Epigenetic aging, which can be measured with so-called “epigenetic clocks”, is due to deterministic processes embedded in the mammalian genome. Stochastic (random) damage, which may be due to wear and tear and/or malfunctioning of stress response machinery, leads to cellular senescence. Epigenetic clocks are a housekeeping system that appears to be conserved in all model organisms, including humans.
Thus, although the link between cellular senescence and aging is indisputable, epigenetic aging appears to act independently of common senescence-inducing stressors.
This experiment aims to study the primordial nature of the epigenetic clocks of aging and senescence by performing measurements of their functioning and timing capacity in an environment of “cosmic silence”. Taking advantage of the absence of background radiation from the LSC, we want to test whether the presence of variable radiation during the ~200 million years of mammalian evolution in the near-surface environment of the Earth is a multicomponent abiotic factor that is integrated into the apparently indelible ticking rhythms of epigenetic clocks.