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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.


Relative telomere length (RTL) of two qPCR runs with identical samples showing the low inter-run variability of the qPCR method used in this study.
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f5: Relative telomere length (RTL) of two qPCR runs with identical samples showing the low inter-run variability of the qPCR method used in this study.

Mentions: Mean qPCR efficiencies were 94.86% and 96.30% for the non-VCN gene and telomere reactions respectively. The mean coefficient of variation among replicates (intra-assay variation) for Ct-values of the non-VCN gene and telomere assay were 0.020% and 0.016% respectively. Among runs (inter-assay variation) we found a high correlation of RTL (R = 0.96) and a slope (1.12) close to the theoretical optimum of 1.0 between two runs with identical samples (Fig. 5). It should be noted that the inter-assay variation in our study was substantially smaller (≤ 0.02%) than in many other qPCR studies (0.9–7%; review in Steenstrup et al.62). Therefore, and because there is no logical explanation why errors should depend on the animals ages, we can rule out that measurement error alone could have led to observations of RTL increases, as suggested by Steenstrup et al.62.


Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse ( Glis glis )
Relative telomere length (RTL) of two qPCR runs with identical samples showing the low inter-run variability of the qPCR method used in this study.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f5: Relative telomere length (RTL) of two qPCR runs with identical samples showing the low inter-run variability of the qPCR method used in this study.
Mentions: Mean qPCR efficiencies were 94.86% and 96.30% for the non-VCN gene and telomere reactions respectively. The mean coefficient of variation among replicates (intra-assay variation) for Ct-values of the non-VCN gene and telomere assay were 0.020% and 0.016% respectively. Among runs (inter-assay variation) we found a high correlation of RTL (R = 0.96) and a slope (1.12) close to the theoretical optimum of 1.0 between two runs with identical samples (Fig. 5). It should be noted that the inter-assay variation in our study was substantially smaller (≤ 0.02%) than in many other qPCR studies (0.9–7%; review in Steenstrup et al.62). Therefore, and because there is no logical explanation why errors should depend on the animals ages, we can rule out that measurement error alone could have led to observations of RTL increases, as suggested by Steenstrup et al.62.

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 “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.