Telomere Science Library

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Skin pentosidine and telomere length do not covary with age in a long-lived seabird.

Authors: Kalev K. Rattiste, Hillar H. Klandorf, Janek J. Urvik, Tuul T. Sepp, Muhammad M. Asghar, Dennis D. Hasselquist, Crissa C. Cooey, Peeter P. H├Árak
Published: 03/01/2015, Biogerontology


The questions about why and how senescence occurs in the wild are among the most pertinent ones in evolutionary ecology. Telomere length is a commonly used marker for aging, while other biomarkers of aging have received considerably less attention. Here we studied how another potent indicator of aging-skin pentosidine concentration-relates to age and blood telomere length in a long-lived seabird with well-documented reproductive senescence. We found no associations between telomere length, skin pentosidine and chronological age in male common gulls (Larus canus), aging from 2 to 30 years. However, the variance in telomere length was 4.6 times higher among the birds older than 13 years, which hints at relaxed selection on telomere length among the birds that have passed their prime age of reproduction. These results suggest that physiological and chronological ages may be largely uncoupled in our study system. Furthermore, our findings do not support a hypothesis about the presence of a common physiological factor (e.g., such as oxidative stress) that would cause covariation between two independent markers of aging.

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