Longevity is linked to mitochondrial mutation rates in rockfish: a test using Poisson regression

Xia Hua*, Peter Cowman, Dan Warren, Lindell Bromham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mitochondrial theory of ageing proposes that the cumulative effect of biochemical damage in mitochondria causes mitochondrial mutations and plays a key role in ageing. Numerous studies have applied comparative approaches to test one of the predictions of the theory: That the rate of mitochondrial mutations is negatively correlated with longevity. Comparative studies face three challenges in detecting correlates of mutation rate: Covariation of mutation rates between species due to ancestry, covariation between life-history traits, and difficulty obtaining accurate estimates of mutation rate. We address these challenges using a novel Poisson regression method to examine the link between mutation rate and lifespan in rockfish (Sebastes). This method has better performance than traditional sister-species comparisons when sister species are too recently diverged to give reliable estimates of mutation rate. Rockfish are an ideal model system: They have long life spans with indeterminate growth and little evidence of senescence, which minimizes the confounding tradeoffs between lifespan and fecundity. We show that lifespan in rockfish is negatively correlated to rate of mitochondrial mutation, but not the rate of nuclear mutation. The life history of rockfish allows us to conclude that this relationship is unlikely to be driven by the tradeoffs between longevity and fecundity, or by the frequency of DNA replications in the germline. Instead, the relationship is compatible with the hypothesis that mutation rates are reduced by selection in long-lived taxa to reduce the chance of mitochondrial damage over its lifespan, consistent with the mitochondrial theory of ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2633-2645
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Volume32
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Keywords

  • molecular evolution
  • sister pairs
  • substitution rates

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