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The worm that lived: evolution of rapid aging under high extrinsic mortality revisited
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
2013 (English)In: Worm, Vol. 2, no 3, e23704Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Organisms age because of the “selection shadow”—the decline of the force of natural selection with age. Seemingly straightforward corollary of this theory is the Medawar-Williams prediction, which maintains that increased extrinsic (non-aging) mortality will result in the evolution of accelerated aging and decreased longevity. Despite its centrality to modern thinking about the ultimate causes of aging, this prediction ignores the fact that mortality is often a non-random process depending on individual condition. Increased condition-dependent mortality inescapably results in increased selection for resistance against the agent of mortality. Provided that resistance to various stressors is commonly associated with increased longevity, the evolutionary outcome is no longer certain. We recently documented this experimentally by showing that populations of Caenorhabditis remanei evolved to live shorter under high extrinsic mortality, but only when mortality was applied haphazardly. On the contrary, when extrinsic mortality was caused by heat-shock, populations experiencing the same rate of increased mortality evolved greater longevities, notwithstanding increased “selection shadow.” Intriguingly, stress-resistant and long-lived worms were also more fecund. We discuss these results in the light of recent theoretical developments, such as condition-environment interactions and hyperfunction theory of aging.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 2, no 3, e23704
Keyword [en]
senescence, extrinsic mortality, evolution, longevity, Medawar-Williams prediction, tradeoff, reproduction, condition-dependence, stress, heat-shock
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-286605DOI: 10.4161/worm.23704PubMedID: PMC3875642OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-286605DiVA: diva2:921814
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved

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