A benign juvenile environment reduces the strength of antagonistic pleiotropy and genetic variation in the rate of senescence

Kim, S.-Y., Metcalfe, N. and Velando, A. (2016) A benign juvenile environment reduces the strength of antagonistic pleiotropy and genetic variation in the rate of senescence. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85(3), pp. 705-714. (doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12468) (PMID:26559495) (PMCID:PMC4991295)

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The environment can play an important role in the evolution of senescence because the optimal allocation between somatic maintenance and reproduction depends on external factors influencing life expectancy. The aims of this study were to experimentally test whether environmental conditions during early life can shape senescence schedules, and if so, to examine whether variation among individuals or genotypes with respect to the degree of ageing differs across environments. We tested life-history plasticity and quantified genetic effects on the pattern of senescence across different environments within a reaction norm framework by using an experiment on the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus, Linnaeus) in which F1 families originating from a wild annual population experienced different temperature regimes. Male sticklebacks that had experienced a more benign environment earlier in life subsequently reduced their investment in carotenoid-based sexual signals early in the breeding season, and consequently senesced at a slower rate later in the season, compared to those that had developed under harsher conditions. This plasticity of ageing was genetically determined. Both antagonistic pleiotropy and genetic variation in the rate of senescence were evident only in the individuals raised in the harsher environment. The experimental demonstration of genotype-by-environment interactions influencing the rate of reproductive senescence provides interesting insights into the role of the environment in the evolution of life histories. The results suggest that benign conditions weaken the scope for senescence to evolve and that the dependence on the environment may maintain genetic variation under selection.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Kim, S.-Y., Metcalfe, N., and Velando, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Animal Ecology
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1365-2656
Published Online:19 December 2015
First Published:First published in Journal of Animal Ecology 85(3): 705-714
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:/10.5061/dryad.s6h6b

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
568811Does maternal life history strategy influence optimal management regimes for wild salmon?Neil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/I025182/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED