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Nature. 2014 Jan 9;505(7482):169-73. doi: 10.1038/nature12789. Epub 2013 Dec 8.

Diversity of ageing across the tree of life.

Author information

1
1] Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark [2] Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark [3].
2
1] Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany [2].
3
1] Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany [2] School of Biological Sciences, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia.
4
Institut National d'Etudes Démographiques, 133 Boulevard Davout, 75980 Paris Cédex 20, France.
5
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany.
6
Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 433 South University Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6018, USA.
7
1] Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark [2] Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.
8
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, Lilla Frescativägen 5, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
9
Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC), Avenida Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain.
10
Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus, Florida 33960, USA.
11
Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4110 Libra Drive, Orlando, Florida 32816-2368, USA.
12
1] Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark [2] Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany [3] Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology Department MS-34, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543 USA [4] Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94248, 1090GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
13
1] Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark [2] Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany [3] Duke Population Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA.

Abstract

Evolution drives, and is driven by, demography. A genotype moulds its phenotype's age patterns of mortality and fertility in an environment; these two patterns in turn determine the genotype's fitness in that environment. Hence, to understand the evolution of ageing, age patterns of mortality and reproduction need to be compared for species across the tree of life. However, few studies have done so and only for a limited range of taxa. Here we contrast standardized patterns over age for 11 mammals, 12 other vertebrates, 10 invertebrates, 12 vascular plants and a green alga. Although it has been predicted that evolution should inevitably lead to increasing mortality and declining fertility with age after maturity, there is great variation among these species, including increasing, constant, decreasing, humped and bowed trajectories for both long- and short-lived species. This diversity challenges theoreticians to develop broader perspectives on the evolution of ageing and empiricists to study the demography of more species.

PMID:
24317695
PMCID:
PMC4157354
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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