Optimally, mutation and the evolution of ageing

  title={Optimally, mutation and the evolution of ageing},
  author={Linda Partridge and Nicholas H. Barton},
Evolutionary explanations of ageing fall into two classes. Organisms might have evolved the optimal life history, in which survival and fertility late in life are sacrificed for the sake of early reproduction and survival. Alternatively, the life history might be depressed below this optimal compromise by deleterious mutations: because selection against late-acting mutations is weaker, these will impose a greater load on late life. Evidence for the importance of both is emerging, and… 

Evolution of aging: Testing the theory usingDrosophila

The experimental results so far suggest that aging in Drosophila has evolved in part as a consequence of selection for an optimal life history, and in partas a result of accumulation of predominantly late-acting deleterious mutations.

The evolution of longevity

The evolutionary genetics of ageing and longevity

Recent discoveries of the levelling of mortality curves, and of age specific mutations in mutation accumulation lines of Drosophila melanogaster, require adjustments to the original models of the evolution of ageing and species longevity, but these adjustments do not invalidate the underlying rationale of evolutionary theories of ageing.

Understanding the Odd Science of Aging

Early-late life trade-offs and the evolution of ageing in the wild

A review of 26 studies of free-ranging vertebrate populations that explicitly tested for a trade-off between performance in early and late life brings overall support for the presence of early-late life trade-offs, suggesting that the limitation of available resources leads individuals to trade somatic maintenance later in life for high allocation to reproduction early in life.

Why organisms age: Evolution of senescence under positive pleiotropy?

It is argued that the simple argument that aging can evolve under positive pleiotropy between early- and late-life fitness when the deleterious effect of mutations increases with age makes testable predictions and is supported by existing evidence.

Mechanisms of aging: public or private?

Evidence is mounting that modulators of the rate of ageing are conserved over large evolutionary distances, and this conservation might stem from mechanisms that match reproductive rate to nutrient supply.

Extraordinary lifespans in ants: a test of evolutionary theories of ageing

It is shown that the evolution of eusociality is associated with a 100-fold increase in insect lifespan, predicted by evolutionary theories because termite, bee and ant queens live in colonies that are sheltered and heavily defended against predators.



Deleterious mutations and the evolution of sexual reproduction

If the deleterious mutation rate per genome per generation is greater than 1, then the greater efficiency of selection against these mutations in sexual populations may be responsible for the evolution of sex and related phenomena.

Evolution of senescence: late survival sacrificed for reproduction.

  • T. KirkwoodM. Rose
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1991
The antagonistic pleiotropy theory proposes that certain alleles that are favoured because of beneficial early effects also have deleterious later effects, and the disposable soma theory suggests that because of the competing demands of reproduction less effort is invested in the maintenance of somatic tissues than is necessary for indefinite survival.

A test of evolutionary theories of senescence

The present results provide evidence for the pleiotropy theory, but do not support the mutation–accumulation theory.

Evolution of Senescence and Specific Longevity

This work agrees with Comfort in defining senescence as the total effect of all changes which occur in an organism as it ages and which render it more vulnerable or less viable.

The moulding of senescence by natural selection.

  • W. Hamilton
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1966

The Ecological Context of Life History Evolution

There is now a good theoretical understanding of life history evolution, and detailed explicit optimality models have been constructed. These present a challenge for empirical work examining some of

Constraints in the Evolution of Life Histories

The life history favoured by natural selection maximizes fitness, and this implies maximization of fecundity and survival at all ages. The observed diversity in life histories suggests that there are

Life table tests of evolutionary theories of senescence

  • R. Nesse
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Experimental Gerontology
  • 1988

Senescence and the Genetic-Correlation Hang-Up

  • A. Clark
  • Biology
    The American Naturalist
  • 1987
This note is a general critique of experimental approaches used to address the population-genetic basis of life history evolution, prompted, in particular, by attempts to estimate genetic correlations between life history attributes through laboratory manipulation of wild-caught Drosophila.