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Developmental telomere attrition predicts impulsive decision-making in adult starlings.

Bateson M, Brilot BO, Gillespie R, Monaghan P, Nettle D - Proc. Biol. Sci. (2015)

Bottom Line: Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits.We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres.Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience and Newcastle University Institute of Ageing, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK melissa.bateson@ncl.ac.uk.

ABSTRACT
Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits. We tested the prediction that if, as has been suggested, developmental telomere attrition is a biomarker of state and future life expectancy, then individuals who have undergone greater developmental telomere attrition should display greater choice impulsivity as adults. We measured impulsive decision-making in a cohort of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in which we had previously manipulated developmental telomere attrition by cross-fostering sibling chicks into broods of different sizes. We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres. Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Predictors of impulsivity. (a) Greater developmental telomere attrition (D) predicts greater impulsivity. (b) Poorer body condition predicts greater impulsivity. In both panels, the data points represent the subset of 20 birds for which we obtained both developmental telomere lengths and estimates of impulsivity. The solid black line is the line of best fit from a simple linear regression model, with 95% CIs shaded in grey.
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RSPB20142140F4: Predictors of impulsivity. (a) Greater developmental telomere attrition (D) predicts greater impulsivity. (b) Poorer body condition predicts greater impulsivity. In both panels, the data points represent the subset of 20 birds for which we obtained both developmental telomere lengths and estimates of impulsivity. The solid black line is the line of best fit from a simple linear regression model, with 95% CIs shaded in grey.

Mentions: To test whether impulsivity was predicted by developmental telomere attrition, we fitted a model with ln(k) as the dependent variable, and developmental telomere attrition (D), body condition at the start of the impulsivity experiment and the interaction between these two factors as continuous fixed predictors (developmental telomere attrition and body condition were almost entirely uncorrelated: Pearson correlation, r18 < 0.01, p = 0.9980). Impulsivity (k) was significantly predicted by developmental telomere attrition (D), with greater impulsivity being associated with greater developmental telomere loss (GLMM: p = 0.0010; B ± s.e. = −0.29 ± 0.08; figure 4a). Impulsivity was also significantly predicted by body condition, with greater impulsivity being associated with a bird being relatively light for skeletal size at the start of the impulsivity measurements (GLMM: p = 0.0029; B ± s.e. = −0.23 ± 0.09; figure 4b). The interaction between telomere attrition and body condition explained no significant additional variation in impulsivity (GLMM: p = 0.1728, B ± s.e. = 0.15 ± 0.09). Note that if the raw differences in telomere length between d4 and d55 were used in place of D in the above model, the same pattern of results was obtained but, as would be expected, the effects were smaller.Figure 4.


Developmental telomere attrition predicts impulsive decision-making in adult starlings.

Bateson M, Brilot BO, Gillespie R, Monaghan P, Nettle D - Proc. Biol. Sci. (2015)

Predictors of impulsivity. (a) Greater developmental telomere attrition (D) predicts greater impulsivity. (b) Poorer body condition predicts greater impulsivity. In both panels, the data points represent the subset of 20 birds for which we obtained both developmental telomere lengths and estimates of impulsivity. The solid black line is the line of best fit from a simple linear regression model, with 95% CIs shaded in grey.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4286045&req=5

RSPB20142140F4: Predictors of impulsivity. (a) Greater developmental telomere attrition (D) predicts greater impulsivity. (b) Poorer body condition predicts greater impulsivity. In both panels, the data points represent the subset of 20 birds for which we obtained both developmental telomere lengths and estimates of impulsivity. The solid black line is the line of best fit from a simple linear regression model, with 95% CIs shaded in grey.
Mentions: To test whether impulsivity was predicted by developmental telomere attrition, we fitted a model with ln(k) as the dependent variable, and developmental telomere attrition (D), body condition at the start of the impulsivity experiment and the interaction between these two factors as continuous fixed predictors (developmental telomere attrition and body condition were almost entirely uncorrelated: Pearson correlation, r18 < 0.01, p = 0.9980). Impulsivity (k) was significantly predicted by developmental telomere attrition (D), with greater impulsivity being associated with greater developmental telomere loss (GLMM: p = 0.0010; B ± s.e. = −0.29 ± 0.08; figure 4a). Impulsivity was also significantly predicted by body condition, with greater impulsivity being associated with a bird being relatively light for skeletal size at the start of the impulsivity measurements (GLMM: p = 0.0029; B ± s.e. = −0.23 ± 0.09; figure 4b). The interaction between telomere attrition and body condition explained no significant additional variation in impulsivity (GLMM: p = 0.1728, B ± s.e. = 0.15 ± 0.09). Note that if the raw differences in telomere length between d4 and d55 were used in place of D in the above model, the same pattern of results was obtained but, as would be expected, the effects were smaller.Figure 4.

Bottom Line: Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits.We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres.Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience and Newcastle University Institute of Ageing, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK melissa.bateson@ncl.ac.uk.

ABSTRACT
Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence should make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits. We tested the prediction that if, as has been suggested, developmental telomere attrition is a biomarker of state and future life expectancy, then individuals who have undergone greater developmental telomere attrition should display greater choice impulsivity as adults. We measured impulsive decision-making in a cohort of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in which we had previously manipulated developmental telomere attrition by cross-fostering sibling chicks into broods of different sizes. We show that as predicted by state-dependent optimality models, individuals who had sustained greater developmental telomere attrition and who had shorter current telomeres made more impulsive foraging decisions as adults, valuing smaller, sooner food rewards more highly than birds with less attrition and longer telomeres. Our findings shed light on the biological embedding of early adversity and support a functional explanation for its consequences that could be applicable to other species, including humans.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus