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Sexual differences in telomere selection in the wild


Olsson, M and Pauliny, A and Wapstra, E and Uller, T and Schwartz, T and Miller, E and Blomqvist, D, Sexual differences in telomere selection in the wild, Molecular Ecology, 20, (10) pp. 2085-2099. ISSN 0962-1083 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05085.x


Telomere length is restored primarily through the action of the reverse transcriptase telomerase, which may contribute to a prolonged lifespan in some but not all species and may result in longer telomeres in one sex than the other. To what extent this is an effect of proximate mechanisms (e.g. higher stress in males, higher oestradiol ⁄ oestrogen levels in females), or is an evolved adaptation (stronger selection for telomere length in one sex), usually remains unknown. Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) females have longer telomeres than males and better maintain telomere length through life than males do. We also show that telomere length more strongly contributes to life span and lifetime reproductive success in females than males and that telomere length is under sexually diversifying selection in the wild. Finally, we performed a selection analysis with number of recruited offspring into the adult population as a response variable with telomere length, life span and body size as predictor variables. This showed significant differences in selection pressures between the sexes with strong ongoing selection in females, with these three predictors explaining 63% of the variation in recruitment. Thus, the sexually dimorphic telomere dynamics with longer telomeres in females is a result of past and ongoing selection in sand lizards. Finally, we compared the results from our selection analyses based on Telometric-derived data to the results based on data generated by the software ImageJ. ImageJ resulted in shorter average telomere length, but this difference had virtually no qualitative effect on the patterns of ongoing selection.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:lizards, sexual dimorphism, telomere, telomere length
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:69579
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:49
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-05-02
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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