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Age Deviancy: Mechanism for Age Related Behavior Discovered

In lectures on the life course I often discuss two central issues about aging. Firstly is the concept of age deviancy. This is the social pressure we apply to others and they apply to us to confirm to certain behaviors at certain times of life. The second is how genetic factors do not stop their influence at birth. Genes exert considerable and changing influence over us during the life course. Recent research has identified the mechanism for this, in worms. This fascinating study based on the observation of worms identified how patterns of behavior change according to the age of the worm. And with genetic modifications, these behaviors could be frozen or compromised. The wild card appears to be the presence of serotonin. The presence of this neurotransmitter allowed the worms to freestyle their behaviors. However, when they were genetically modified to not produce serotonin, the worms turned into highly patterned automatons. Does serotonin make us individual? To read the research click here.

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