Biology: The Puzzle of Aging

When it leaves the ocean to swim up the rivers of the Northwest and spawn, the Pacific salmon is lithe and healthy. As little as two weeks later, it degenerates into an aged, colorless and almost lifeless fish. Its flesh wastes away, bones soften, and skin peels off. The secretion of mucous material that keeps scales healthy suddenly stops, and the fish falls prey to fungus infections. Tiny parasitic worms multiply and spread through the fish's body; some glands run wild, others cease functioning.

What causes this piscatorial version of The Picture of Dorian Gray? Now, after studying the salmon...

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