The human genome demonstrates variable levels of instability during ontogeny. Achieving the highest rate during early prenatal development, it decreases significantly throughout following ontogenetic stages. A failure to decrease or a spontaneous increase of genomic instability can promote infertility, pregnancy losses, chromosomal and genomic diseases, cancer, immunodeficiency, or brain diseases depending on developmental stage at which it occurs. Paradoxically, late ontogeny is associated with increase of genomic instability that is considered a probable mechanism for human aging. The latter is even more appreciable in human diseases associated with pathological or accelerated aging (i.e. Alzheimers disease and ataxia-telangiectasia). These observations resulted in a hypothesis suggesting that somatic genomic variations throughout ontogeny are determinants of cellular vitality in health and disease including intrauterine development, postnatal life and aging. The most devastative effect of somatic genome variations is observed when it manifests as chromosome instability or aneuploidy, which has been repeatedly noted to produce pathologic conditions and to mediate developmental regulatory and aging processes. However, no commonly accepted concepts on the role of chromosome/genome instability in determination of human health span and life span are available. Here, a review of these ontogenetic variations is given to propose a new “dynamic genome” model for pathological and natural genomic changes throughout life that mimic those of phylogenetic diversity.
Keywords: Ontogeny, somatic genome variations, chromosome instability, prenatal development, aging, aneuploidy, genomic instability
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