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Intergenerational transfer of ageing: Parental age and offspring lifespan

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Abstract

The extent to which the age of parents at reproduction can affect offspring lifespan and other fitness-related traits is important in our understanding of the selective forces shaping life history evolution. In this article, the widely reported negative effects of parental age on offspring lifespan (the ‘Lansing effect’) is examined. Outlined herein are the potential routes whereby a Lansing effect can occur, whether effects might accumulate across multiple generations, and how the Lansing effect should be viewed as part of a broader framework, considering how parental age affects offspring fitness. The robustness of the evidence for a Lansing effect produced so far, potential confounding variables, and how the underlying mechanisms might best be unravelled through carefully designed experimental studies are discussed.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-937
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume35
Issue number10
Early online date30 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

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  • ageing, gamete, Lansing effect, life history, parental care, senescence

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