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Trends Ecol Evol. 2001 Jan 1;16(1):24-29.

Molecular signals versus the Loi de Balancement.


Life history tradeoffs are often thought to be caused by the allocation of limited resources among competing traits such as reproduction, somatic growth and maintenance. One line of evidence supporting this comes from eliminating reproduction, for example, by surgically removing gonads. However, recent evidence from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans suggests that the apparent tradeoffs it shows might not be due to resource allocation at all but rather to the effects of a molecular signal originating in the germ line that represses longevity. These results should cause us to rethink the interpretation of many classic experiments in life history evolution.

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