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Testing for genetic trade-offs between early- and late-life reproduction in a wild red deer population.

Nussey DH, Wilson AJ, Morris A, Pemberton J, Clutton-Brock T, Kruuk LE - Proc. Biol. Sci. (2008)

Bottom Line: Significant genetic variation for both ageing rates in a key maternal performance measure (offspring birth weight) and ELF was present in this population.We found some evidence for a negative genetic covariance between the rate of ageing in offspring birth weight and ELF, and also for a negative environmental covariance.Our results suggest rare support for the AP theory of ageing from a wild population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. dan.nussey@ed.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The antagonistic pleiotropy (AP) theory of ageing predicts genetically based trade-offs between investment in reproduction in early life and survival and performance in later life. Laboratory-based research has shown that such genetic trade-offs exist, but little is currently known about their prevalence in natural populations. We used random regression 'animal model' techniques to test the genetic basis of trade-offs between early-life fecundity (ELF) and maternal performance in late life in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. Significant genetic variation for both ageing rates in a key maternal performance measure (offspring birth weight) and ELF was present in this population. We found some evidence for a negative genetic covariance between the rate of ageing in offspring birth weight and ELF, and also for a negative environmental covariance. Our results suggest rare support for the AP theory of ageing from a wild population.

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Mean residual offspring birth weight (±s.e. bars) for each female age class with a quadratic regression fitted through points. The residuals are from a linear model of offspring birth weight controlling for offspring sex, date of birth, birth year and the female's reproductive status, age at first reproduction, age at last reproduction and its quadratic.
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fig1: Mean residual offspring birth weight (±s.e. bars) for each female age class with a quadratic regression fitted through points. The residuals are from a linear model of offspring birth weight controlling for offspring sex, date of birth, birth year and the female's reproductive status, age at first reproduction, age at last reproduction and its quadratic.

Mentions: Here we test for negative genetic correlations between investment in early-life reproduction and maternal ageing rates in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. A key indicator of maternal performance in this population is offspring birth weight (Clutton-Brock et al. 1982; Coulson et al. 2003). This trait has previously been shown to vary as a quadratic function of female's age: offspring birth weights increased from 3 years of age, peaking at approximately 8 years, and then showed an accelerating decline indicative of senescence (Coulson et al. 2003; Nussey et al. 2006; figure 1). In a previous study of this population conducted at the phenotypic level, we demonstrated that females with high fecundity in early adulthood (less than 9 years old) had faster rates of senescence in offspring birth weight in later life (Nussey et al. 2006).


Testing for genetic trade-offs between early- and late-life reproduction in a wild red deer population.

Nussey DH, Wilson AJ, Morris A, Pemberton J, Clutton-Brock T, Kruuk LE - Proc. Biol. Sci. (2008)

Mean residual offspring birth weight (±s.e. bars) for each female age class with a quadratic regression fitted through points. The residuals are from a linear model of offspring birth weight controlling for offspring sex, date of birth, birth year and the female's reproductive status, age at first reproduction, age at last reproduction and its quadratic.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2366114&req=5

fig1: Mean residual offspring birth weight (±s.e. bars) for each female age class with a quadratic regression fitted through points. The residuals are from a linear model of offspring birth weight controlling for offspring sex, date of birth, birth year and the female's reproductive status, age at first reproduction, age at last reproduction and its quadratic.
Mentions: Here we test for negative genetic correlations between investment in early-life reproduction and maternal ageing rates in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. A key indicator of maternal performance in this population is offspring birth weight (Clutton-Brock et al. 1982; Coulson et al. 2003). This trait has previously been shown to vary as a quadratic function of female's age: offspring birth weights increased from 3 years of age, peaking at approximately 8 years, and then showed an accelerating decline indicative of senescence (Coulson et al. 2003; Nussey et al. 2006; figure 1). In a previous study of this population conducted at the phenotypic level, we demonstrated that females with high fecundity in early adulthood (less than 9 years old) had faster rates of senescence in offspring birth weight in later life (Nussey et al. 2006).

Bottom Line: Significant genetic variation for both ageing rates in a key maternal performance measure (offspring birth weight) and ELF was present in this population.We found some evidence for a negative genetic covariance between the rate of ageing in offspring birth weight and ELF, and also for a negative environmental covariance.Our results suggest rare support for the AP theory of ageing from a wild population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. dan.nussey@ed.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The antagonistic pleiotropy (AP) theory of ageing predicts genetically based trade-offs between investment in reproduction in early life and survival and performance in later life. Laboratory-based research has shown that such genetic trade-offs exist, but little is currently known about their prevalence in natural populations. We used random regression 'animal model' techniques to test the genetic basis of trade-offs between early-life fecundity (ELF) and maternal performance in late life in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. Significant genetic variation for both ageing rates in a key maternal performance measure (offspring birth weight) and ELF was present in this population. We found some evidence for a negative genetic covariance between the rate of ageing in offspring birth weight and ELF, and also for a negative environmental covariance. Our results suggest rare support for the AP theory of ageing from a wild population.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus