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Sex differences in nutrient-dependent reproductive ageing

, : Sex differences in nutrient-dependent reproductive ageing. Aging Cell 8(3): 324-330

Evolutionary theories of aging predict that fitness-related traits, including reproductive performance, will senesce because the strength of selection declines with age. Sexual selection theory predicts, however, that male reproductive performance (especially sexual advertisement) will increase with age. In both bodies of theory, diet should mediate age-dependent changes in reproductive performance. In this study, we show that the sexes exhibit dramatic, qualitative differences in age-dependent reproductive performance trajectories and patterns of reproductive ageing in the cricket Teleogryllus commodus. In females, fecundity peaked early in adulthood and then declined. In contrast, male sexual advertisement increased across the natural lifespan and only declined well beyond the maximum field lifespan. These sex differences were robust to deviations from sex-specific dietary requirements. Our results demonstrate that sexual selection can be at least as important as sex-dependent mortality in shaping the signal of reproductive ageing.


PMID: 19627271

DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00479.x

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