Telomere length covaries with personality in wild brown trout

Adriaenssens, B. , Pauliny, A., Blomqvist, D. and Johnsson, J. I. (2016) Telomere length covaries with personality in wild brown trout. Physiology and Behavior, 165, pp. 217-222. (doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.07.005) (PMID:27470185)

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Abstract

The prevalence of consistent among-individual differences in behaviour, or personality, makes adaptive sense if individuals differ in stable state variables that shift the balance between the costs and benefits of their behavioural decisions. These differences may give rise to both individual differences in, and covariance among, behaviours that influence an individual's exposure to risks. We here study the link between behaviour and a candidate state variable previously overlooked in the study of state-dependent personality variation: telomere length. Telomeres are the protective endcaps of chromosomes and their erosion with age is thought to play a crucial role in regulating organismal senescence and intrinsic lifespan. Following evidence that shorter telomeres may reduce the lifespan of animals in a wide range of taxa, we predict individuals with shorter telomeres to behave more boldly and aggressively. In order to test this, we measured telomere length and behaviour in wild juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta). We found individuals with shorter fin telomeres to behave consistently more boldly and aggressively under controlled conditions in the laboratory. No such relationship was found with muscle telomere length 3–4 months after the behavioural assays. We suggest that telomere dynamics are an important factor integrating personality traits with other state variables thought to be important in the regulation of behaviour, such as metabolism, disease resistance and growth.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Adriaenssens, Dr Bart
Authors: Adriaenssens, B., Pauliny, A., Blomqvist, D., and Johnsson, J. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Physiology and Behavior
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0031-9384
ISSN (Online):1873-507X
Published Online:26 July 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Physiology and Behavior 165:217-222
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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