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Mechanisms of Life History EvolutionThe Genetics and Physiology of Life History Traits and Trade-Offs$
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Thomas Flatt and Andreas Heyland

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568765.001.0001

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Molecular basis of life history regulation in C. elegans and other organisms

Molecular basis of life history regulation in C. elegans and other organisms

Chapter:
Chapter 22 Molecular basis of life history regulation in C. elegans and other organisms
Source:
Mechanisms of Life History Evolution
Author(s):

Birgit Gerisch

Adam Antebi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568765.003.0022

All animals have evolved a remarkable ability to cope with environmental change. This phenotypic plasticity can lead to presumably adaptive, regulatory adjustments in all aspects of the life cycle – from development, growth, metabolism, reproduction, to aging – which are geared to maximize reproductive success. In response to its environment, the nematode C. elegans makes a critical choice between continuous reproductive development, or arrest at a long-lived stress resistant stage, called the dauer diapause. This chapter discusses the molecular and genetic basis of C. elegans dauer development and life history regulation, and connetcs these findings to related events in other model organisms. The work reviewed here reveals major insights into how environmental cues and sensory inputs are integrated via evolutionarily conserved endocrine signalling pathways to affect virtually every aspect of organismal life history, from development to aging. In particular, the chapter discusses how insulin/IGF, TGF-β, serotonergic, and steroid hormone signal transduction cascades govern the plastic trade-off between reproduction versus survival. These and similar integratory hormonal pathways suggest a common, evolutionarily conserved molecular basis for the regulation of phenotypic plasticity and life history trade-offs in metazoans.

Keywords:   dauer diapause, insulin/IGF, nuclear hormone receptor, heterochronic, reproductive diapause, torpor, hibernation

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