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Individual telomere dynamics and their links to life history in a viviparous lizard
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-20, 23:30 authored by Luisa FitzpatrickLuisa Fitzpatrick, Olsson, M, Pauliny, A, Geoffrey WhileGeoffrey While, Erik WapstraErik Wapstra
Emerging patterns suggest telomere dynamics and life history are fundamentally linked in endotherms through life-history traits that mediate the processes underlying telomere attrition. Unlike endotherms, ectotherms maintain the ability to lengthen somatic telomeres throughout life and the link between life-history strategies and ectotherm telomere dynamics is unknown. In a well-characterized model system (Niveoscincus ocellatus), we used long-term longitudinal data to study telomere dynamics across climatically divergent populations. We found longer telomeres in individuals from the cool highlands than those from the warm lowlands at birth and as adults. The key determinant of adult telomere length across populations was telomere length at birth, with population-specific effects of age and growth on adult telomere length. The reproductive effort had no proximate effect on telomere length in either population. Maternal factors influenced telomere length at birth in the warm lowlands but not the cool highlands. Our results demonstrate that life-history traits can have pervasive and context-dependent effects on telomere dynamics in ectotherms both within and between populations. We argue that these telomere dynamics may reflect the populations' different life histories, with the slow-growing cool highland population investing more into telomere lengthening compared to the earlier-maturing warm lowland population.
Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
Publication titleProceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherRoyal Soc London
Place of publication6 Carlton House Terrace, London, England, Sw1Y 5Ag
Rights statement© 2021 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.