Thursday, September 26, 2013

Next lab meeting: genetics of ageing

Posted by Jessica Abbott on behalf of Qinyang Li
One of Qinyang's lovely fly pictures.

For next week's lab meeting, I suggest we can talk about this study on sexual dimorphism of life span in Drosophila. It's an interesting topic to me and also relevant to our fly works.

Title: Heritability of Life Span Is Largely Sex Limited in Drosophila

Abstract: Males and females differ with respect to life span and rate of aging in most animal species. Such sexual dimorphism can be associated with a complex genetic architecture, where only part of the genetic variation is shared between the sexes. However, the extent to which this is true for life span and aging is not known, because studies of life span have given contradictory results and aging has not been studied from this perspective. Here we investigate the additive genetic architecture of life span and aging in Drosophila melanogaster. We find substantial amounts of additive genetic variation for both traits, with more than three-quarters of this variation available for sex-specific evolutionary change. This result shows that the sexes have a profoundly different additive genetic basis for these traits, which has several implications. First, it translates into an, on average, three-times-higher heritability of life span within, compared to between, the sexes. Second, it implies that the sexes are relatively free to evolve with respect to these traits. And third, as life span and aging are traits that integrate over all genetic factors that contribute to mortal disease, it also implies that the genetics of heritable disease differs vastly between the sexes.

 N.B.!  As per our discussion last week, everyone should prepare two short contributions about the paper to share with the group.  These need not be anything very extensive - questions about the content, short observations about your thoughts on the paper (e.g. interesting or not, and why), if there was something you thought was unclear, etc.  All these things are fine.

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