Lizards from warm and declining populations are born with extremely short telomeres

Andréaz Dupoué, Pauline Blaimont, Frédéric Angelier, Cécile Ribout, David Rozen-Rechels, Murielle Richard, Donald Miles, Pierre de Villemereuil, Alexis Rutschmann, Arnaud Badiane, Fabien Aubret, Olivier Lourdais, Sandrine Meylan, Julien Cote, Jean Clobert, Jean François Le Galliard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Aging is the price to pay for acquiring and processing energy through cellular activity and life history productivity. Climate warming can exacerbate the inherent pace of aging, as illustrated by a faster erosion of protective telomere DNA sequences. This biomarker integrates individual pace of life and parental effects through the germline, but whether intra- and intergenerational telomere dynamics underlies population trends remains an open question. Here, we investigated the covariation between life history, telomere length (TL), and extinction risk among three age classes in a cold-adapted ectotherm (Zootoca vivipara) facing warming-induced extirpations in its distribution limits. TL followed the same threshold relationships with population extinction risk at birth, maturity, and adulthood, suggesting intergenerational accumulation of accelerated aging rate in declining populations. In dwindling populations, most neonates inherited already short telomeres, suggesting they were born physiologically old and unlikely to reach recruitment. At adulthood, TL further explained females' reproductive performance, switching from an index of individual quality in stable populations to a biomarker of reproductive costs in those close to extirpation. We compiled these results to propose the aging loop hypothesis and conceptualize how climate-driven telomere shortening in ectotherms may accumulate across generations and generate tipping points before local extirpation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2201371119
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume119
Issue number33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2022

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