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Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse ( Glis glis )

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ABSTRACT

Telomere shortening is thought to be an important biomarker for life history traits such as lifespan and aging, and can be indicative of genome integrity, survival probability and the risk of cancer development. In humans and other animals, telomeres almost always shorten with age, with more rapid telomere attrition in short-lived species. Here, we show that in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) telomere length significantly increases from an age of 6 to an age of 9 years. While this finding could be due to higher survival of individuals with longer telomeres, we also found, using longitudinal measurements, a positive effect of age on the rate of telomere elongation within older individuals. To our knowledge, no previous study has reported such an effect of age on telomere lengthening. We attribute this exceptional pattern to the peculiar life-history of this species, which skips reproduction in years with low food availability. Further, we show that this “sit tight” strategy in the timing of reproduction is associated with an increasing likelihood for an individual to reproduce as it ages. As reproduction could facilitate telomere attrition, this life-history strategy may have led to the evolution of increased somatic maintenance and telomere elongation with increasing age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Effect of age on the probability of female dormice to reproduce (n = 1529, N = 816).Black circles show means for each age. The sigmoidal prediction line was obtained from a mixed effects logistic regression and was averaged over all observation years and individuals. The vertical lines close to the upper and lower x-axes each indicate an observation of reproduction (1) or no reproduction (0), respectively.
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f4: Effect of age on the probability of female dormice to reproduce (n = 1529, N = 816).Black circles show means for each age. The sigmoidal prediction line was obtained from a mixed effects logistic regression and was averaged over all observation years and individuals. The vertical lines close to the upper and lower x-axes each indicate an observation of reproduction (1) or no reproduction (0), respectively.

Mentions: Age positively affected the probability of females to reproduce (Chi2 = 98.8, P < 0.001; n = 1529). The likelihood to reproduce in any given year reached 1 at an age of 5 years and remained at this level up to the oldest age observed (Fig. 4). There was however, no detectable effect of age on litter size (Chi2 = 1.2, P = 0.28, n = 115). Mean litter size was 5.49 ± 2.14 SD.


Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse ( Glis glis )
Effect of age on the probability of female dormice to reproduce (n = 1529, N = 816).Black circles show means for each age. The sigmoidal prediction line was obtained from a mixed effects logistic regression and was averaged over all observation years and individuals. The vertical lines close to the upper and lower x-axes each indicate an observation of reproduction (1) or no reproduction (0), respectively.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5121655&req=5

f4: Effect of age on the probability of female dormice to reproduce (n = 1529, N = 816).Black circles show means for each age. The sigmoidal prediction line was obtained from a mixed effects logistic regression and was averaged over all observation years and individuals. The vertical lines close to the upper and lower x-axes each indicate an observation of reproduction (1) or no reproduction (0), respectively.
Mentions: Age positively affected the probability of females to reproduce (Chi2 = 98.8, P < 0.001; n = 1529). The likelihood to reproduce in any given year reached 1 at an age of 5 years and remained at this level up to the oldest age observed (Fig. 4). There was however, no detectable effect of age on litter size (Chi2 = 1.2, P = 0.28, n = 115). Mean litter size was 5.49 ± 2.14 SD.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Telomere shortening is thought to be an important biomarker for life history traits such as lifespan and aging, and can be indicative of genome integrity, survival probability and the risk of cancer development. In humans and other animals, telomeres almost always shorten with age, with more rapid telomere attrition in short-lived species. Here, we show that in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) telomere length significantly increases from an age of 6 to an age of 9 years. While this finding could be due to higher survival of individuals with longer telomeres, we also found, using longitudinal measurements, a positive effect of age on the rate of telomere elongation within older individuals. To our knowledge, no previous study has reported such an effect of age on telomere lengthening. We attribute this exceptional pattern to the peculiar life-history of this species, which skips reproduction in years with low food availability. Further, we show that this &ldquo;sit tight&rdquo; strategy in the timing of reproduction is associated with an increasing likelihood for an individual to reproduce as it ages. As reproduction could facilitate telomere attrition, this life-history strategy may have led to the evolution of increased somatic maintenance and telomere elongation with increasing age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus