Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2018 Mar 5;373(1741). pii: 20160445. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0445.

The rate of telomere loss is related to maximum lifespan in birds.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA.
2
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
3
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, 9700AB Groningen, Netherlands.
4
Department of Biology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA.
5
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Albany, Albany, NY 12222, USA.
6
Department of Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA.
7
Friends of Cooper Island, Seattle, WA 98112, USA.
8
Department of Biological Sciences, University College, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Korea.
9
Department of Biology, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA.
10
Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
11
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6.
12
ICT Nisbet & Company, Falmouth, MA 02540, USA.
13
Department of Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan.
14
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
15
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA.
16
Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX, UK.
17
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
18
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
19
Department of Biology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA mfh008@bucknell.edu.

Abstract

Telomeres are highly conserved regions of DNA that protect the ends of linear chromosomes. The loss of telomeres can signal an irreversible change to a cell's state, including cellular senescence. Senescent cells no longer divide and can damage nearby healthy cells, thus potentially placing them at the crossroads of cancer and ageing. While the epidemiology, cellular and molecular biology of telomeres are well studied, a newer field exploring telomere biology in the context of ecology and evolution is just emerging. With work to date focusing on how telomere shortening relates to individual mortality, less is known about how telomeres relate to ageing rates across species. Here, we investigated telomere length in cross-sectional samples from 19 bird species to determine how rates of telomere loss relate to interspecific variation in maximum lifespan. We found that bird species with longer lifespans lose fewer telomeric repeats each year compared with species with shorter lifespans. In addition, phylogenetic analysis revealed that the rate of telomere loss is evolutionarily conserved within bird families. This suggests that the physiological causes of telomere shortening, or the ability to maintain telomeres, are features that may be responsible for, or co-evolved with, different lifespans observed across species.This article is part of the theme issue 'Understanding diversity in telomere dynamics'.

KEYWORDS:

ageing; bird; comparative analysis; lifespan; senescence; telomeres

PMID:
29335369
PMCID:
PMC5784065
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2016.0445
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center