Dietary restriction improves fitness of ageing parents but reduces fitness of their offspring in nematodes

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Dietary restriction (DR) is a well-established intervention to extend lifespan across taxa. Recent studies suggest that DR-driven lifespan extension can be cost-free, calling into question a central tenant of the evolutionary theory of ageing. Nevertheless, boosting parental longevity can reduce offspring fitness. Such intergenerational trade-offs are often ignored but can account for the 'missing costs' of longevity. Here, we use the nematode Caenorhabditis remanei to test for effects of DR by fasting on fitness of females and their offspring. Females deprived of food for six days indeed had increased fecundity, survival and stress resistance after re-exposure to food compared to their counterparts with constant food access. However, offspring of DR mothers had reduced early and lifetime fecundity, slower growth rate, and smaller body size at sexual maturity. These findings support the direct trade-off between investment in soma and gametes challenging the hypothesis that increased somatic maintenance and impaired reproduction can be decoupled.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series A
Early online date25 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2019

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© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.

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