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:2/9/2016)... Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier ... fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015.  ... of 2015 was $6.9 million, an increase of 61% compared to ... the fourth quarter of 2015 was $2.6 million compared to $0.2 ... --> --> Higher revenue and operating income in ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... February 8, 2016 Worldcore ... which presents innovation for clients, comfort and unbeatable ... VoiceKey. --> Worldcore is the ... for clients, comfort and unbeatable security, with a ... Worldcore is the first EU-regulated ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016 The field of Human Microbiome ... most popular hubs of the biotechnology industry. While ... studies of human microbiota, have garnered a lot ... microbiome space has literally exploded in terms of ... report focuses on biomedical aspects of research, development, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... Springfield, MO (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... company, will attend the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Rocky Mountain Chapter ... of ISPE is expecting to fill more than 100 tables for its annual ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Curoverse ... Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for managing and processing genomic and health ... Azure from major institutions collecting and analyzing genomic data,” said Adam Berrey chief ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential election in ... Care Business Conference will bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night ... transformation. The conference, organized by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Clinovo , the cloud-based ... Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system ClinCaptureand its new Contract Research Organization (CRO) Partner ... Conference in San Mateo, California on February 10th and 11th. Watch 2-min ...
Breaking Biology Technology: