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Genetics. 2016 Sep;204(1):371-83. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.191148. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

The Genetic Basis of Natural Variation in Caenorhabditis elegans Telomere Length.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208 Interdisciplinary Biological Science Program, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208.
2
Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208.
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Seoul National University, 08826, Korea.
4
Department of Biology, New York University, New York 10003 Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University, New York 10003.
5
Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605.
6
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Institut de Biologie Valrose, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 06100 Nice, France.
7
Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University, 6708 PB, Netherlands.
8
Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan.
9
Departments of Human Genetics and Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815.
10
Institut de Biologie de l'École Normale Supérieure, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, 75005 Paris, France.
11
Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Seoul National University, 08826, Korea Department of Biophysics and Chemical Biology, Seoul National University, 08826, Korea.
12
Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208 Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611 Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208 Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208 erik.andersen@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Telomeres are involved in the maintenance of chromosomes and the prevention of genome instability. Despite this central importance, significant variation in telomere length has been observed in a variety of organisms. The genetic determinants of telomere-length variation and their effects on organismal fitness are largely unexplored. Here, we describe natural variation in telomere length across the Caenorhabditis elegans species. We identify a large-effect variant that contributes to differences in telomere length. The variant alters the conserved oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding fold of protection of telomeres 2 (POT-2), a homolog of a human telomere-capping shelterin complex subunit. Mutations within this domain likely reduce the ability of POT-2 to bind telomeric DNA, thereby increasing telomere length. We find that telomere-length variation does not correlate with offspring production or longevity in C. elegans wild isolates, suggesting that naturally long telomeres play a limited role in modifying fitness phenotypes in C. elegans.

KEYWORDS:

Caenorhabditis elegans; QTL; shelterin; telomere length; whole-genome sequence

PMID:
27449056
PMCID:
PMC5012401
DOI:
10.1534/genetics.116.191148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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