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Demographic heterogeneity explains age-specific patterns of genetic variance in mortality rates
 

Summary: Demographic heterogeneity explains age-specific patterns
of genetic variance in mortality rates
Philip M. Service*
Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
Received 14 June 2003; received in revised form 7 August 2003; accepted 4 September 2003
Abstract
The genetic variance of mortality rates in Drosophila melanogaster increases with age early in life, but declines at intermediate ages. A
simulation study was done in order to evaluate two competing explanations for this age-specific pattern: (1) demographic heterogeneity, and
(2) binomial sampling effects. The pattern can be explained by demographic heterogeneity among and within genotypes. In contrast,
binomial sampling variance is not sufficient to explain this age-specific pattern of genetic variance in mortality rates. A previous publication
that rejected the `heterogeneity explanation' in favor of binomial sampling is shown to be mistaken.
q 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Mortality rate variance; Gompertz function; Heterogeneity theory; Drosophila melanogaster; Genetic variance; Binomial sampling; Ageing
1. Introduction
Mueller et al. (2003) would have us believe that
`heterogeneity theory' is dead and buried as an explanation
for mortality patterns. They argue that my earlier findings
(Service, 2000a) "are largely a consequence of sampling
variation in estimated mortality rates or the effects of
artificially truncated distributions on the estimates of

  

Source: Allan, Gery - Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology