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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2016

Authors: Hoelzl, F; Smith, S; Cornils, JS; Aydinonat, D; Bieber, C; Ruf, T

Title: Telomeres are elongated in older individuals in a hibernating rodent, the edible dormouse (Glis glis).

Source: Sci Rep. 2016; 6:36856



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Aydinonat Denise
Bieber Claudia
Cornils Jessica Svea
Hölzl Franz
Ruf Thomas
Smith Steven

Vetmed Research Units
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology


Project(s): Predation risk, stress and life history tactics in the edible dormouse


Abstract:
Telomere shortening is thought to be an important biomarker for life history traits such as lifespan and aging, and can be indicative of genome integrity, survival probability and the risk of cancer development. In humans and other animals, telomeres almost always shorten with age, with more rapid telomere attrition in short-lived species. Here, we show that in the edible dormouse (Glis glis) telomere length significantly increases from an age of 6 to an age of 9 years. While this finding could be due to higher survival of individuals with longer telomeres, we also found, using longitudinal measurements, a positive effect of age on the rate of telomere elongation within older individuals. To our knowledge, no previous study has reported such an effect of age on telomere lengthening. We attribute this exceptional pattern to the peculiar life-history of this species, which skips reproduction in years with low food availability. Further, we show that this "sit tight" strategy in the timing of reproduction is associated with an increasing likelihood for an individual to reproduce as it ages. As reproduction could facilitate telomere attrition, this life-history strategy may have led to the evolution of increased somatic maintenance and telomere elongation with increasing age.

Keywords Pubmed: Aginggenetics
Animals
Female
Hibernationgenetics
Longevitygenetics
Male
Myoxidaegenetics
Reproductiongenetics
Rodentiagenetics
Telomeregenetics
Telomere Homeostasisgenetics
Telomere Shorteninggenetics

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