Navigation Links
Environmental cues control reproductive timing and longevity, University of Minnesota study shows
Date:6/25/2009

When humans and animals delay reproduction because food or other resources are scarce, they may live longer to increase the impact of reproduction, according to a new study by University of Minnesota researchers published in the June 25 issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) One.

The discovery, which explains why starvation can lead to longer life, has important implications for improving human health and lengthening lifespan.

The basic premise is that individuals use environmental cues to predict population declines, causing them to delay reproduction until the decline has occurred, when each offspring will make a bigger contribution to the gene pool. Conversely, if bad times turn to good times and the population is on the verge of a boom, reproducing sooner rather than later will help their genes thrive.

"If the population is decreasing, future kids make a bigger splash in the gene pool than current kids," explains Will Ratcliff, a College of Biological Sciences graduate student who came up with the idea for the study. "So, if there are tradeoffs between current and future reproduction, delaying reproduction can be a good idea, even if it reduces the number of kids you have during your lifetime."

Fluctuations in testosterone levels provide an example of how the environment and organisms interact to guide reproduction, explains R. Ford Denison, adjunct professor in the College of Biological Sciences and Ratcliff's adviser. Testosterone suppresses the immune system. So when environmental conditions trigger high levels, reproduction is high but longevity drops.

Environmental factors also control the age of menarche. In African countries with chronic food shortages, girls experience menarche much later than in the U.S., where rich diets trigger early menarche. Food scarcity is a signal that population is likely to decline, so reproduction is delayed, while an abundance of rich food signals an increase, causing reproductive age to drop.

"Our hypothesis may explain hormesis, the mysterious health benefits of low doses of toxins including those that plants like broccoli make to defend themselves from insects," says Denison. " When their usual foods are scarce, organisms turn to plants containing chemicals that can suppress reproduction and consequently increase longevity "These toxins may be abundant in 'famine foods' that are eaten only when meat and fruit are not available" Denison adds.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
2. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
3. UCR engineers to develop new tool to measure how environmental exposures affect health
4. TAU scientists probe deep questions aboard EcoOceans environmental research ship
5. Environmental setting of human migrations in the circum-Pacific Region
6. UC-Riverside partners with Chinese university to address Chinas environmental problems
7. Food and environmental sustainability focus of ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meetings
8. Relationship between environmental stress and cancer elucidated
9. Environmental researchers propose radical human-centric map of the world
10. New journal Energy & Environmental Science to be launched by RSC Publishing
11. Environmental exodus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data captured ... engineering platform, detected a statistically significant association ... prior to treatment and objective response of ... potential to predict whether cancer patients will ... treatment, as well as to improve both pre-infusion ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong ... identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching ... and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security ... ... A research team led by ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, ... improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity ... to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
Breaking Biology Technology: