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Telomere length predicts reproduction investment in a migratory songbird

Lapa, Mariana (2020) BIOP01 20152
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
Telomeres have an important role in cell replication and maintenance and are known to shorten at each cell division. They have been linked to lifespan and mortality in wild populations, and induced stress and environmental conditions are thought to accelerate telomere shortening which may lead to shorter lifespan. The ‘disposable soma’ theory of aging, predicts that investment in reproduction will have costs in lifespan and that biochemical mechanisms will mediate the life-history trade-offs. In this study, a well-studied wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was sampled for telomere length and reproduction data was collected. Shorter telomere individuals were more likely to invest in early reproduction.... (More)
Telomeres have an important role in cell replication and maintenance and are known to shorten at each cell division. They have been linked to lifespan and mortality in wild populations, and induced stress and environmental conditions are thought to accelerate telomere shortening which may lead to shorter lifespan. The ‘disposable soma’ theory of aging, predicts that investment in reproduction will have costs in lifespan and that biochemical mechanisms will mediate the life-history trade-offs. In this study, a well-studied wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was sampled for telomere length and reproduction data was collected. Shorter telomere individuals were more likely to invest in early reproduction. Understanding the potential links between telomere dynamics and its links to the reproduction biology, might give insight in both proximate and ultimate explanations for different life history strategies. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Reproductive investment and telomeres

Telomeres have been linked to lifespan and mortality in wild populations. Furthermore, induced stress and environmental conditions are thought to accelerate telomere shortening which may lead to shorter lifespan. However, investment in reproduction can also have costs in lifespan which should be mediated by internal mechanisms. In this study, a well-studied wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was sampled to help to understand interactions between telomere dynamics and reproductive traits. The study aims to enlighten evolutionary implications telomeres have on the population’s life-history.

Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes that protect the ends of chromosomes.... (More)
Reproductive investment and telomeres

Telomeres have been linked to lifespan and mortality in wild populations. Furthermore, induced stress and environmental conditions are thought to accelerate telomere shortening which may lead to shorter lifespan. However, investment in reproduction can also have costs in lifespan which should be mediated by internal mechanisms. In this study, a well-studied wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was sampled to help to understand interactions between telomere dynamics and reproductive traits. The study aims to enlighten evolutionary implications telomeres have on the population’s life-history.

Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes that protect the ends of chromosomes. However, telomeres decrease over time. Some studies have suggested that telomere length can predict mortality in wild populations of birds, implying that telomeres may also assume a key role in the individual’s fitness and condition. Investment in reproduction might cause an added stress of an individual’s organism and it will directly impact one’s life history.

Telomere dynamics seems to interact with reproductive traits through other life-history traits and events, such as age at first reproduction and arrival day after spring migration. Individuals with longer telomeres seem to delay the first breeding event, either by arriving later (which was observed in females), or by skipping the first breeding season (both sexes). On the other hand, shorter telomere females will make a greater investment in breeding in their first breeding season. This suggests there is a trade-off between early-life conditions represented by the early-life TL, and future breeding investment.

Trying new lab methods
Most telomere studies that adopt the qPCR method follow the protocol suggested by Richard Cawthon, 2002. One drawback of this method is the fact that for each sample, two reactions are run in order to measure a proportion of telomere length. Due to pipetting errors and environmental conditions in the lab machines, the two reaction runs might present differences. A protocol such as monochrome multiplex qPCR (MMQPCR) would allow one run per sample

MMQPCR has a good potential to reduce lab work and expenses to half when comparing with the singleplex method. However, an improvement of the protocol is still necessary. Guidelines to optimize and validate a multiplex monochrome qPCR are still lacking in the scientific literature. Nevertheless, regardless of the challenges, MMQPCR could be worth to invest in, as more data might be obtained from the same amount of reagents and results seem to be more accurate when compared to other techniques.


Master’s Degree Project in Animal Ecology 60 credits 2017
Department of Biology, Lund University

Advisor: Dennis Hasselquist
Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lapa, Mariana
supervisor
organization
course
BIOP01 20152
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
9030108
date added to LUP
2020-09-29 10:32:15
date last changed
2020-09-29 10:32:15
@misc{9030108,
  abstract     = {Telomeres have an important role in cell replication and maintenance and are known to shorten at each cell division. They have been linked to lifespan and mortality in wild populations, and induced stress and environmental conditions are thought to accelerate telomere shortening which may lead to shorter lifespan. The ‘disposable soma’ theory of aging, predicts that investment in reproduction will have costs in lifespan and that biochemical mechanisms will mediate the life-history trade-offs. In this study, a well-studied wild population of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was sampled for telomere length and reproduction data was collected. Shorter telomere individuals were more likely to invest in early reproduction. Understanding the potential links between telomere dynamics and its links to the reproduction biology, might give insight in both proximate and ultimate explanations for different life history strategies.},
  author       = {Lapa, Mariana},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Telomere length predicts reproduction investment in a migratory songbird},
  year         = {2020},
}