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Experimental evolution of aging, growth, and reproduction in fruitflies

Summary: Experimental evolution of aging, growth, and
reproduction in fruitflies
S. C. Stearns*, M. Ackermann, M. Doebeli, and M. Kaiser
Zoology Institute, University of Basel, Rheinsprung 9, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland
Edited by May B. Berenbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, and approved January 24, 2000 (received for review July 12, 1999)
We report in this paper an evolutionary experiment on Drosophila
that tested life-history theory and the evolutionary theory of
aging. As theory predicts, higher extrinsic mortality rates did lead
to the evolution of higher intrinsic mortality rates, to shorter
lifespans, and to decreased age and size at eclosion; peak fecundity
also shifted earlier in life. These results confirm the key role of
extrinsic mortality rates in the evolution of growth, maturation,
reproduction, and aging, and they do so with a selection regime
that maintained selection on fertility throughout life while holding
population densities constant.
life-history evolution lifespan age at maturity body size Drosophila
In this paper, we report a case study in experimental evolution
with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster that is designed to
test predictions of life-history theory (1­6) and the evolutionary
theory of aging (7­11). It did confirm those predictions. The


Source: Ackermann, Martin - Institut für Integrative Biologie, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ)
Doebeli, Michael - Departments of Zoology & Mathematics, University of British Columbia


Collections: Biology and Medicine