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Article Dans Une Revue Oecologia Année : 2022

Telomere dynamics in female Columbian ground squirrels: recovery after emergence and loss after reproduction

Résumé

Telomeres are specialized non-coding DNA sequences located at the end of chromosomes and that protect genetic information. Telomere loss over lifespan is generally viewed as a phenomenon associated with aging in animals. Recently, telomere elongation after hibernation has been described in several mammals. Whether this pattern is an adaptation to repair DNA damage caused during rewarming from torpor or if it coevolved as a mechanism to promote somatic maintenance in preparation for the upcoming reproductive effort remains unclear. In a longitudinal study measuring telomere length using buccal swabs, we tested if telomere elongation was related to reproductive success in wild adult female Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) that were monitored from emergence from hibernation to the end of the reproductive season. We found three key results. First, female telomere length increased at the start of the breeding season, both in breeding and non-breeding individuals. Second, post-emergence telomere lengthening was unrelated to female future reproductive output. Third, telomere length decreased in breeding females during lactation, but remained stable in non-breeding females over a similar period. Within breeders, telomeres shortened more in females producing larger and heavier litters. We concluded that telomere lengthening after hibernation did not constrain immediate female reproductive capacities. It was more likely to be part of the body recovery process that takes place after hibernation. Telomere erosion that occurs after birth may constitute a physiological cost of female reproduction.
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Dates et versions

hal-03718444 , version 1 (03-11-2022)

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Vincent A. Viblanc, Francois Criscuolo, Sebastian Sosa, Quentin Schull, Rudy Boonstra, et al.. Telomere dynamics in female Columbian ground squirrels: recovery after emergence and loss after reproduction. Oecologia, 2022, 199 (2), pp.301--312. ⟨10.1007/s00442-022-05194-9⟩. ⟨hal-03718444⟩
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