eCite Digital Repository

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


Olsson, M and Pauliny, A and Wapstra, E and Blomqvist, D, Proximate determinants of telomere length in sand lizards (Lacerta agilis), Biology Letters, 6, (5) pp. 651-653. ISSN 1744-9561 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 The Royal Society

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0126


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:64728
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2010-08-19
Last Modified:2014-11-24

Repository Staff Only: item control page