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Experimental evolution of slowed cognitive aging in Drosophila melanogaster
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology. Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland..
Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.;Ecole Polytech Fed Lausanne, Sch Life Sci, Lausanne, Switzerland..
2017 (English)In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 71, no 3, p. 662-670Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reproductive output and cognitive performance decline in parallel during aging, but it is unknown whether this reflects a shared genetic architecture or merely the declining force of natural selection acting independently on both traits. We used experimental evolution in Drosophila melanogaster to test for the presence of genetic variation for slowed cognitive aging, and assess its independence from that responsible for other traits' decline with age. Replicate experimental populations experienced either joint selection on learning and reproduction at old age (Old + Learning), selection on late-life reproduction alone (Old), or a standard two-week culture regime (Young). Within 20 generations, the Old + Learning populations evolved a slower decline in learning with age than both the Old and Young populations, revealing genetic variation for cognitive aging. We found little evidence for a genetic correlation between cognitive and demographic aging: although the Old + Learning populations tended to show higher late-life fecundity than Old populations, they did not live longer. Likewise, selection for late reproduction alone did not result in improved late-life learning. Our results demonstrate that Drosophila harbor genetic variation for cognitive aging that is largely independent from genetic variation for demographic aging and suggest that these two aspects of aging may not necessarily follow the same trajectories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY , 2017. Vol. 71, no 3, p. 662-670
Keywords [en]
Cognitive aging, Drosophila, experimental evolution, genetic architecture, learning, trade-off
National Category
Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320841DOI: 10.1111/evo.13156ISI: 000396039000011PubMedID: 28000915OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-320841DiVA, id: diva2:1091427
Funder
The Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesSwedish Research CouncilEU, European Research CouncilAvailable from: 2017-04-26 Created: 2017-04-26 Last updated: 2017-09-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Age-specific trade-offs in life-history evolution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Age-specific trade-offs in life-history evolution
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Trade-offs prevent selection from driving all fitness-enhancing traits towards values that would maximize fitness. Life-history trade-offs, such as the one between survival and reproduction are well-studied, yet trade-offs can also involve behavioural or cognitive traits. Because males and females have different routes to successful reproduction, the optimal resolution of life-history trade-offs can differ between the sexes. However, shared genome can constrain the evolution of sex-specific adaptations. In this thesis, I explore the links between sex-specific life histories, cognition and behaviour. I start by linking sex differences in life histories to sex differences in learning performance in the outcrossing nematode Caenorhabditis remanei (Paper I). I report that age-related learning differs between the sexes and that it corresponds to sexual dimorphism in life history. Then, I use experimental evolution to select for learning performance to study the patterns of genetic correlations between learning and life-history traits in both sexes (Paper II). The results demonstrate the correlated evolution of sexual dimorphism in life history indicating sex-specific fitness costs and benefits of learning. In Paper III I use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to ask about the extent to which cognitive and demographic aging are independent. The results reveal that selection for late-life reproduction alone bears no effect on late-life learning and that joint selection on late-life learning and reproduction does not yield lifespan benefits. The selection might have affected, however, female age-specific reproductive effort. Motivated by the questions on aging I proceed to ask why a potent lifespan extending drug – rapamycin affects sexes differently (Paper IV). I take a closer look at the trade-off between growth, lifespan and reproduction and propose that the sex experiencing a stronger relationship between size and fitness pays a higher cost of lifespan extension. Finally, I focus on another sex-specific trait – dispersal (Paper V). I conduct experimental evolution to uncover a negative genetic correlation between dispersal and reproduction and show sex-specific genetic variation for dispersal. In summary, my thesis unravels the complex pattern of interdependence between life-history, behavioural and cognitive traits, where sex emerges as an important factor that can maintain genetic variation for trade-offs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. p. 48
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1555
Keywords
life history, trade-off, learning, aging, sex differences, dispersal, Caenorhabditis, Drosophila
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-329035 (URN)978-91-513-0067-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-27, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-09-07 Last updated: 2017-10-18

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