Supplementary material from "Experimental demonstration that offspring fathered by old males have shorter telomeres and reduced lifespans"

Published on 2018-03-01T13:39:17Z (GMT) by
Offspring of older parents frequently show reduced longevity, but the mechanisms driving this so-called ‘Lansing effect' are unknown. While inheritance of short telomeres from older parents could underlie this effect, studies to date in different species have found mixed results, reporting positive, negative or no association between parental age and offspring telomere length (TL). However, most of the existing evidence is from non-experimental studies in which it is difficult to exclude alternative explanations such as differential survival of parents with different telomere lengths. Here we provide evidence in the zebra finch that offspring from older parents have reduced lifespans. As a first step in disentangling possible causes, we used an experimental approach to examine whether or not we could detect pre-natal paternal effects on offspring TL. We found that zebra finch embryos fathered by old males have shorter telomeres than those produced by the same mothers but with younger fathers. Since variation in embryonic TL persists into post-natal life, and early life TL is predictive of longevity in this species, this experimental study demonstrates that a paternally driven pre-natal TL reduction could at least in part underlie the reduced lifespan of offspring from older parents.

Cite this collection

Noguera, José C.; Metcalfe, Neil B.; Monaghan, Pat (2018): Supplementary material from "Experimental demonstration that offspring fathered by old males have shorter telomeres and reduced lifespans". The Royal Society. Collection.