Telomere dynamics rather than age predict life expectancy in the wild

Bize, P., Criscuolo, F., Metcalfe, N.B., Nasir, L. and Monaghan, P. (2009) Telomere dynamics rather than age predict life expectancy in the wild. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 276(1662), pp. 1679-1683. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.1817)

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Abstract

Despite accumulating evidence from in vitro studies that cellular senescence is linked to telomere dynamics, how this relates to whole-organism senescence and longevity is poorly understood and controversial. Using data on telomere length in red blood cells and long-term survival from wild Alpine swifts of a range of ages, we report that the telomere length and the rate of telomere loss are predictive of life expectancy, and that slow erosion of relatively long telomeres is associated with the highest survival probabilities. Importantly, because telomere dynamics, rather than chronological age, predict life expectancy, our study provides good evidence for a mechanistic link between telomere erosion and reduced organism longevity under natural conditions, chronological age itself possibly not becoming a significant predictor until very old ages beyond those in our sample.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Monaghan, Professor Patricia and Metcalfe, Professor Neil and Nasir, Professor Lubna and Criscuolo, Dr Francois
Authors: Bize, P., Criscuolo, F., Metcalfe, N.B., Nasir, L., and Monaghan, P.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:25 February 2009

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
401931Life history consequences of growth accelerationPatricia MonaghanNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/C004353/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED