University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Proximate determinants of telomere length in sand lizards (Lacerta agilis)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 03:05 authored by Olsson, M, Pauliny, A, Erik WapstraErik Wapstra, Blomqvist, D
Telomeres are repeat sequences of non-codingDNA that cap the ends of chromosomes and contribute to their stability and the genomic integrity of cells. In evolutionary ecology, the main research target regarding these genomic structures has been their role in ageing and as a potential index of age. However, research on humans shows that a number of traits contribute to among-individual differences in telomere length, in particular traits enhancing cell division and genetic erosion, such as levels of free radicals and stress. In lizards, tail loss owing to predation attempts results in a stress-induced shift to a more cryptic lifestyle. In sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) males, telomere length was compromised by tail regrowth in a body size-related manner, so that small males, which already exhibit more cryptic mating tactics, were less affected than larger males. Tail regrowth just fell short of having a significant relationship with telomere length in females, and so did age in males. In females, there was a significant positive relationship between age and telomere length. We conclude that the proximate effect of compromised antipredation and its associated stress seems to have a more pronounced effect in males than in females and that age-associated telomere dynamics differ between the sexes.


Publication title

Biology Letters










School of Natural Sciences


The Royal Society Publishing

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright © 2010 The Royal Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Terrestrial biodiversity

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania